President's perspective - Summer, 2017 - Summertime!

By Lisa Smith on Friday, June 30, 2017

For kids, summertime means freedom! But for the rest of us, it’s usually the busiest time of the year. Because it is warmer, we spend more time outdoors working in or just enjoying the natural world. The days are long, so we can typically work more and get more accomplished. Thus, it’s a time of greater activity, challenges, opportunities, and personal growth! But growth and opportunity only happen when you have a vision shared by those around you. Industry leaders know that to foster growth, a company’s vision must be understood and embraced by every employee, or committee/team member. This has become my new mantra. I think about this bit of wisdom daily. Discussing my vision with friends, colleagues, and employees, and communicating my concerns and asking for ideas, opinions, or perspectives is a constant effort, but I know that it pays off. If I’m looking for a new software program to increase my efficiency, I mention to colleagues that I’m in the market, and then ask for their input. If I want my team to focus on a specific market niche, I clearly state that to them, and discuss how it will benefit us all. It may involve setting the agenda for the day, establishing priorities, reaffirming the company’s principles and goals, such as providing professional services, meeting the client’s expectations, expanding the business, or its commitment to safety and work excellence. It may be as simple as just verbalizing the expected outcome. Getting your message across is important. Don’t assume everything will go as you’ve envisioned, or that your employees, team, or fellow committee members understand your goals, intentions, and expectations. If you aren’t spending time with them, creating a culture of communication, then you are missing key opportunities for growth and buy-in. And this involves getting their feedback.

This same philosophy should be expanded to your client base! Every client operates on the basis of ‘WIIFM’, an acronym for what’s in it for me? When you talk to your clients, let them know what benefits and services you and/or your team offer or will provide. For example, when you are pruning trees to meet a specific objective, provide pertinent information supporting your recommendations as well as complete specifications. Increasing communication and interaction with your clients, supports your message and fosters the relationship.

This summer marks the end of my tenure as President, and I can honestly say that it has been an incredible and rewarding journey for me. When I began my term as a director on the board, we were just completing an update of the WCISA website, and were implementing a new 5-year Strategic Plan. Furthermore, we had just started offering Tree Risk Assessor training courses.

The Board recently revised the Strategic Plan that will guide the chapter over the next 5 years. And once again, we’re in the process of updating the website. Much of our time has been devoted to working on ways to improve member services as conditions and needs change. We recognize that when you consider renewing your membership you’re probably wondering ? what’s in it for you.

It has been an honor and privilege working with the board and its officers, Rose Epperson (executive director), and the staff at Epicenter. This is a group of passionate, dedicated, and very capable people who have helped shape the chapter’s vision and guide its day-to-day operation.

If you see yourself in a leadership role, promoting professional arboriculture and advancing the interests of fellow arborists, I urge you to consider serving on the board. Step up and reach out to anyone of us on the WCISA Board. Your passion, talents, enthusiasm, and fresh ideas will be welcome. We need your participation to realize the goals that WCISA has set, and to sustain the current momentum. Our industry is evolving and we need to explore ways to continue meeting the needs of our members. This is an on-going process requiring needs assessment, feedback, and making changes as needed.

My time on the board has been rewarding, inspiring, challenging, and has allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. If you have ideas for improvement, or just want to make a difference — get involved. Throw your hat in the ring to serve on the board.