What’s Your Pond Coaching Philosophy?

Last week our construction crew upgraded a water feature at the home of an Aquascape manager. (Everyone wishes they made it bigger!) She marveled at how our crew worked through the organized chaos that is just another day at the office for them. “They never stop!” she exclaimed. Bingo, I replied!


Before: A pond in need of an upgrade


In my youth, and now again in my old age, I’m finding myself becoming more cantankerous. After 22 years of being in this water garden game and repeatedly seeing the failure of contractors who deviate from an iron clad methodology for water feature construction, I ‘m becoming more vocal again about the pitfalls of overcomplicating things. Simply put, you will not succeed in the water feature business if you don’t follow a regimented approach to water feature design and installation. Yet, very few contractors “Keep It Simple Stupid” day in, and day out. Whether they are enticed by the high dollar (and low profit) of large and unique water features, or the overcomplicated (and low profit) custom installs, requiring multiple product lines, and construction methodologies, the results are almost always the same…low, or no, profit!


During: “Organized Chaos”


I’m reading a terrific book, by Charles Duhigg, called The Power of Habit. In it he describes the coaching philosophy of the legendary Super Bowl winning coach, Tony Dungy. “Dungy doesn’t believe his teams need the thickest playbook. He doesn’t want them memorizing hundreds of formations. He just wants them to learn a few moves and get them right every time.” Duhigg writes. He explains the key to Dungy’s Super Bowl winning ways was to take all the decision making out of his player’s game and instead, have them perform flawlessly the game plan they practice day in and day out.


Bingo I thought as I read that! That’s pond building right there baby. I don’t want our crew thinking on game day and doing something different than what we practice, day in, and day out. Twenty products, twenty steps. From Raffie, to Cuco, to Carlos, and Rigo, those guys go through the same motions pond in, and pondless waterfall out. That’s why they never stop moving. Orchestrated chaos with a goal of flawless execution results in a one day pond, versus literally one week, for those crews who are doing it differently every time.” Simply put, when you’re on a large and unique project, or an intimate smaller one, everything slows down as you go through things for the first time, having to figure out what you’re doing.


In the NFL milliseconds matter Dungy goes on to explain. “You might not be able to coach speed, but you can coach execution which allows my guys to react quicker and that’s our advantage.” Dungy did it by limiting his player’s options, and maximizing their execution of those limited options, and because of that he’s regarded as one of the greatest coaches ever.


Aquascape is one of the greatest POND BUILDING TEAMS EVER. And we did it, and continue to do it, by executing our 20 step, 20 product  K.I.S.S. philosophy to water feature construction. And executing flawlessly, and keeping it Simple, doesn’t only apply to how we design and sell water features. It’s marketing, and operations, as well. My last two blogs of 2012 will cover how Aquascape applies Dungy’s strategy to our marketing, and operational efforts as well. Hopefully you can apply what I’m saying to your business, and in my old, old age I can become just a big softie again!


After: Jill’s new pond and one we’ve built “a thousand times” before.


Your Coach,

The Pond Guy