It was 3:08 a.m. and a few degrees below zero when I drove out of Jackson, Wyo., in late January. The day before, I had just wrapped up facilitating a brainstorming meeting for 18 landscape companies from all parts of the U.S. It was a diverse group comprised of commercial installation and maintenance, residential design/build and bid-build, fine gardening and fertilization companies.
Everyone was there to share best practices and to learn from one another. It didn't hurt that we were in a setting surrounded by the Grand Teton Mountains and some of the best skiing in North America. Because I couldn't sleep, I decided to get an early start on the 450 mile trek to my home in Grand Lake, Colo.
Two things on the road constantly occupied my mind as I drove into the darkness – black ice and big elk. Either one could spell disaster. The good news as I drove south on US 189/191 was that the road was dry and I was aware of the potential danger.
What you don't know.
As I drove, it struck me how teachable and willing to learn the brainstorming meeting attendees were. Sure, there were strong egos there but everyone participated, asked questions and contributed their feedback and ideas to the group. Like hungry trout scouring the water's surface for freshly hatched flies, these men and women sought out new ideas, strategies and techniques that would improve both their management acumen and their bottom line.
They knew that there were things that they did not know but they were humble enough to admit it and press on as they sought out the wisdom found in the shared knowledge and experiences available to them.