A Leaders Guide for Thriving in Today’s Challenging Times

Today’s leaders are faced with business challenges as tough as any over the past 35 plus years. In order to provide the needed leadership for their organization’s success leaders today need to demonstrate some very fundamental leadership skills and behaviors.

To date, we have reviewed five fundamentals:

1 – Work Hard (and Smart) and Perform

2 – Radiate Confidence and Optimism

3 – Enlist and Enroll vs. Command and Control

4 – Drive Change and Innovation

5 – Foster Cooperation and Collaboration

In this e-newsletter, the Harvesters present the 6th fundamental behavior that

“Growing Forward Leaders” must model for their team during challenging times.

Most often the “root” cause of an organization’s success or failure can be attributed to the leader of the organization and how they present themselves to their people.

Remember: “It all starts and ends with you, the leader.”

Our next fundamental focuses directly on the leader. It’s imperative that the skills and thinking of leaders remains SHARP.

Let’s review fundamental six: Sharpen the Saw – Your Saw 

Think of these tough times as a fantastic leadership development opportunity, Honest!

Think of all the learning you are going through right now:

  • How to lead during tough times.
  • fast cash lottery
  • How to turn around a struggling organization.
  • Or better yet, how to sustain success just to name a few.

Here are some ideas to sharpen your saw, and keep it sharp:

  • Have a 360-review performed on you. Have your head of HR or an outside service conduct this review. It’s really an eye-opening experience.
  • Form an advisory board. It provides a great sounding board.
  • Conduct employee surveys at least annually.
  • Join or form a peer group.
  • Hire a coach/mentor. Yes, even a consultant!

Think of all the potential learning opportunities that can help you “Sharpen Your Saw”

Focus on the key skills that need sharpening during challenging times. Here’s a few based on what we’ve seen:

  • Change management
  • Time management
  • Market and business acumen
  • Cash flow management
  • Being a good communicator
  • Staying calm under pressure
  • Determining root causes of problems and rooting them out
  • How to fix a broken or at least a damaged organization

Here are some more ways busy Growing Forward Leaders get their saws sharpened:

  • Leaders are Readers. You should be reading a book per month. Try Kindle or books on CDs.
  • Attend online classes. Try listening to podcasts. Attend webinars.
  • Attend conferences like PLANET’s Green Industry Conference and Executive Forum.

Keep Your Thinking Around:

  • What do I want to learn from these business challenges?
  • Always document “lessons learned” to share and use in the future.
  • The importance of sharpening the physical and the mental and keep the passion burning.


  • What one skill or behavior do you need to learn, and or improve, that will help you and your organization?
  • How will you learn this new skill or behavior?
  • Be specific. What? Why? How? By when?
  • What lessons have you learned about yourself?
  • Remember to Sharpen the Saw…Your Saw

Remember that you and your organization have one heck of a lot of potential, especially if you – the Growing Forward Leader – can keep your saw sharp.

Suggested Reading: Leading at a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard

If you would like to learn more about becoming a Growing Forward Leader please contact us.

– Harvester Bill

Bill Arman

worked for and helped grow one of the biggest landscape outfits in the country. He’s seen how the big boys do it, how their systems and structures work. So his know-how is rooted in recruiting, hiring, training and growing great people—that along with quality assurance. Bill, alone, has gone on 15,000 quality site visits in his career. Nobody else has that, not that we know of anyway. He received Lawn and Landscape/ Bayer Environmental Science's 2006 Leadership Award. Read Bill's full bio.