Creating significance: How to sell young people on hard work

Posted On March 8, 2019

Have you ever heard that kids these days don’t really want to work? Do you often feel that way yourself?

Our guest in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston” would disagree. Sid Sexton, founder and president of Daphne, Alabama-based Sexton Lawn & Landscape, has made a living – and a thriving business – off selling young people on the benefits of hard work, and watching them succeed at it.

Lazy millennials? “That has not been my experience,” Sexton says.

Sexton, a former college soccer player and U.S. Coast Guard veteran, started his landscape business 15 years ago after relocating to coastal Alabama from Hawaii, where he’d been stationed and where he managed the landscaping at a shopping center for a property management firm after leaving the service.

In addition to providing quality service to his clients – the company’s brand promise is “to provide a worry-free customer experience, with easily accessible landscape service,” he says – Sexton sees his company as a platform to help young employees succeed.

“Everyone wants to be part of a team. Everyone wants significance,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to give them – significance, meaning.”

They do it through a tiered system that provides employees with not only landscaping training, but leadership training – complete with required reading and tests – as well as mentors who will help them learn the ropes. The goal, he says, is not only creating good employees, but creating leaders.

Sexton shares with us how his tiered system works, a sampling of the required reading he gives his employees, why creating obstacles for employees is a route to joy, the effects that technological advances are having on the landscaping industry, how the needs of his customers differ, and why the 2008 recession was just the kick in the rear that he needed.

“I think that’s really where it turned for me,” Sexton says. “I tell people I’m a 15-year overnight success.”

Join us to hear how a self-described “green industry cheerleader” sells – and retains – a workforce on hard work.

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Podcast, What's Working with Cam Marston, Work, Workplace