Founder and CEO of Ceibass Ventures Tom Fochtman references some of the most accomplished football players in history, athletes who practice their sport daily, when explaining how a landscape business should operate. Even though these players know their plays and strategies by heart, during games they still convene in the all-important huddle after each play. For Fochtman, those constant “team meetings” translate to success in both sports and business, especially on Mondays.
Fochtman has worked in the landscape industry since he was just 16 years old. Formerly a landscape contractor at CoCal Landscape, the $33 million company he founded, he now consults with landscape industry professionals at the Denver-based Ceibass. He has experienced many Mondays both as a contractor managing more than 500 employees and through the eyes of his clients. Over all of these years he has noticed one consistent trend: it is quite a struggle to motivate workers after a weekend. Just like professional football players, Fochtman utilizes Monday meetings to combat the post-weekend drag.
“We thought it was important to have a team meeting every Monday morning to immediately check on who didn’t show up. It’s a weekend, and you’ve got two weekend days. Football season, Sunday night games, so we were very aware of that,” Fochtman explains. “If you don’t start your Monday off right, it’s just an invite to have a rugged week.”
While Fochtman finds Monday is often the most difficult day of the week for the landscaping industry, he also recognizes how it is the most vital day. Fochtman stresses the importance of structure and organization in a corporation. As Fochtman states, employees will resent chaos, so leaders should use Mondays to set the tone for a harmonious week. Simple reminders to employees and check-ins can prevent small setbacks that can ultimately throw everyone out of whack.
“It’s not like if a machine breaks down a guy thinks ‘I get to take a break.’ No, because now you are going to fall behind and your supervisor is going to be on you to make it up,” Fochtman says. “Maybe you are going to have to work until dark that night because the machine was broken.”
Considering his philosophy on structure, there is also something to be said for the motivating power of passion. As a former contractor with a true love for his work, Fochtman has mastered workplace motivation through trial and error. Wanting to share that knowledge with others, he helps landscape professionals not only through his work at Ceibass, but also through his board work with the National Association of Landscape Professionals. In fact, lately Fochtman has been having no trouble at all getting motivated.
“I enjoy the giving back part,” Fochtman expresses. “I enjoy helping.”