There are few sounds in an otherwise quiet neighborhood that seem as recognizable as a chain saw. No matter how far away, I can usually pick up on the variable pitch in RPMs as well as when the saw begins to take on the cutting load. Awareness comes from my own use, but also the fact I live in an area with many trees and can hear the professionals working close by.
When the chain is sharp, the engine running smooth, and the chips begin to fly, it’s like watching a magical dance of sorts. You can easily tell when one or more things aren’t running right – from the dulling of the chain, to the sometimes troublesome start, you know when to take a timeout and put things in order. The same can be said when the job is too large for a homeowner like me to tackle on their own.
Recently it was time for me to have some trees professionally removed from my property. Having witnessed Everett Tree Service’s work nearby, I posted a piece here titled, “Trust, a key component of teamwork”. Watching the crew that day showed me how efficient tree cutting can be, but more importantly the trust and respect each member of the team had for one another.
In this profession, I can see how critical equipment can be for operator and owner alike. In Jimmy Everett’s case, this day he was both. Like before, we were scheduled for an early morning start. What I didn’t expect was he would become the assigned tree cutter that day.
Not only can he talk fast, and change subjects quicker than a digital remote, but his instructions come from a variety of directions at once. If you work for Jimmy, you better be paying attention; he can be hollering and motioning with his hands at the same time. I quickly caught on to some of the signals – a tomahawk chop was calling for a freshly sharpened saw, or the artistic hand signals for up, down, right, left, or just a tad either way for the crane; it reminded me a little of a traffic cop at a busy intersection. I think he wants his own crane someday. I can’t tell if it’s for the business, or he just wants to learn how to operate one more thing.
Jimmy’s confidence in others shows through, too. He didn’t waste time overseeing the crane’s operation –the operator and Jimmy have a long history of working together and seemed to anticipate each other’s needs. If he’s using your products, or your services, they better operate as well as Everett does; from the reliability of his STIHL Magnum chain saw, to the safety and ergonomic design of his Buckingham Ergovation harness and climbers, Everett knows that his business depends on his gear doing its job, too.
Always on the move, I would find him riding the cable and ball to the top of the tree, cutting limbs, swinging out for the next move, or gesturing for slight corrections in placement of equipment or people. What you didn’t see was the need for him to expend energy in direct supervision of each task. I had read long ago that success in management is your ability to become “the What and When, not the How” with your staff. He has a seasoned and trained crew that seems to sense his next move or instruction.
Turn your head, and he’s gone. Not one to rest between tasks – I wonder what his calorie burn rate is – I would find him climbing in the cab of a truck, or talking to the crane operator about a better line of attack for limb removal. In between all this, I would quiz him about his business, the economy, or some other topic of interest of mine. What little downtime there was between the cutting of multiple trees, Jimmy was on the phone arranging for the next job or estimate.
There’s no mystery in my mind as to what it takes to run a growing business. Doing business with people that know how to do it well carries a certain customer satisfaction of its own. Quality work, respect for your employees, and meeting the customer’s needs are the basics. Excel at any one of them and you are likely to keep growing at a sure pace. Operate like Jimmy, and you’ll likely outrun your competition.