June 2009

News You Can Use

Cost Savings Strategies

Many sports turf managers across the country are currently dealing with budget cuts due to the struggling economy. STMA has developed a new educational bulletin on strategies to weather the economic downturn. Seven turf managers across the United States share their ideas on the best ways to keep your facility operating effectively with limited resources.

23 Days until the STMA Regional Conference

Fifty-five exhibitors and scores of attendees from eight STMA affiliated chapters will be immersed in two days of education, trade show, hands-on demonstrations, classroom education and networking opportunities.

The STMA Midwest Regional Conference and Exhibition is being held at the Iowa State University campus in Ames on June 24-25. The purpose of holding regional conferences is two-fold: to bring the national conference experience to geographic regions that would not typically host the national event, and to provide a high caliber educational experience for those who are unable to attend the national conference.

To see the complete educational program, or to register,
click here.

Need Help in Securing Funding to Attend the STMA National Conference in 2010?

Provide to your employer an in-depth case study on the return on investment (ROI) that your facility could receive by your attendance at the STMA Annual Conference. The ROI case study was developed using a typical attendees’ consumption of education at the 2009 conference in San José, with costs and cost savings detailed and inserted into the standard formula for calculating ROI.

The ROI of 1,375 percent is unrivaled in today’s world of rising costs and declining value. Savvy employers who seek ways to improve the bottom line should embrace funding your attendance to the 2010 conference.

Look for more information next month on the comprehensive educational program that will be presented at the conference. This is another important piece to provide to your employer to gain his or her support of your attendance.

Jacobsen to Sponsor SAFE Golf Tournament — for the 10th year in 2010!

For the 10th year, Jacobsen, A Textron Company, is sponsoring the SAFE Golf Tournament, which will be held on Wed., Jan. 13, 2010, in conjunction with the STMA Annual Conference.

Jacobsen has selected ChampionsGate Golf Club, a 36-hole Greg Norman designed course in Orlando, to host the tournament.

Since it began sponsoring the SAFE Golf tournament, Jacobsen has raised more than $130,000 for The SAFE Foundation. Information on how to reserve your spot in the tournament will be available mid-summer.

SAFE is the charitable arm of STMA and its purpose is to fund research, scholarship and educational initiatives.

SAFE funds Traffic/Wear Study

The SAFE Foundation is cooperatively funding a National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) research trial on drought and traffic tolerances of cool season turfgrass. This is the first time that SAFE has funded a research initiative, and its goal is to increase research funding in the future. SAFE currently funds scholarships and educational programs.

A grant-writer was hired in 2008 to pursue funding from organizations and foundations that align with SAFE’s mission: To support sports field specific research, educational programs and environmental concerns to promote user safety.

The trials will be established at six to eight locations across the U.S., and the study will span 2010, 2011 and 2012.

STMA Members Support Smart Irrigation

STMA members use efficient and effective irrigation in managing athletic fields and now can more visibly show athletes, fans and the community just how committed they are to good water stewardship. During July, which is Smart Irrigation Month, STMA members are encouraged to promote their water conservation practices.

Smart Irrigation Month was established by the Irrigation Association to encourage efficient watering practices, to provide information about highly efficient irrigation products, and to raise public awareness of outdoor water conservation. July was designated Smart Irrigation Month because July is a peak water-use month. The ultimate goal is to use less water while producing healthy crops, turf, gardens and landscapes all year.

Here are 5 ways Sports Turf Managers can gain exposure for your contributions to water conservation:

1. Use the Smart Irrigation logo on all correspondence (including email) during July to raise awareness.

2. Write an article about your water conservation efforts for your local paper, sports field user group newsletter, industry publications such as your local chapter newsletter or STMA’s SportsTurf Magazine.

3. Contact your local environmental news reporter to establish yourself as a resource for him/her for water conservation information now and in the future.

4. Post your watering plan and schedule to show how your management program adapts to the weather and other geographic, topographic and agronomic conditions.

5. Share your expertise by offering to present tips on efficient and effective water use to a local service or civic club.

The 2-Minute Tip for Success

The Law of Empowerment
By Dr. John C. Maxwell

Biographers universally agree that personal insecurity factored heavily in the downfall of former American President Richard Nixon. Rather than empowering others, President Nixon clutched at power so tightly that he lost all sense of morality and ethics. Obsessively fearing his critics, Nixon authorized a domestic espionage group to spy on his political opponents. When members of the group were caught burglarizing the Watergate Hotel, Nixon tried unsuccessfully to cover up the incident. Eventually he resigned in shame, having left a dubious legacy of scandal.

Nixon's behavior in office violated the Law of Empowerment: Only Secure Leaders Give Power to Others.

Today, at a time when managers must do more with less - less people, less budget, less margin for error - leaders have no choice but to empower followers to share the load. Insecurity simply isn't compatible with survival. Even so, human nature resists empowerment. Let's look at three common tendencies that make empowerment a tricky task.

Three Obstacles to Empowerment
1) Desire for Job Security

The number one enemy of empowerment is the desire for job security. Weak leaders worry that they will become expendable if they train talented subordinates. As a result, they retain a monopoly on select knowledge in the hopes of positioning themselves as irreplaceable. Some misguided leaders even go as far as undercutting those they perceive as potential rivals. Not wanting to be surpassed, they intentionally make others look bad from time to time.

Insecure leaders who prize job security are fiercely territorial. They stake out their turf and refuse to delegate. They want to be the go-to-guys so badly that they may senselessly refuse to train and empower others who could offer them assistance.

The truth is that the only way to make yourself indispensable is to make yourself dispensable. In other words, if you are continually able to empower others and develop them so that they become capable of taking over your job, then you will become so valuable to the organization that you become indispensable.

2) Resistance to Change
Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck asserted, "It is the nature of man as he grows older to protect against change, particularly change for the better." By its very nature, empowerment brings constant change in that it encourages people to grow and innovate. Change is the price of progress.
Insecure leaders view change as a threat rather than an opportunity. They fear change rather than inviting it. As a consequence, insecure leaders have been known to act coldly toward newcomers. They cling to the established order and generally resent anyone who may disrupt it. Instead of empowering incoming personnel, they avoid working with them.

3) Lack of Self-Worth
Many people derive personal value and esteem from their title or position. When either is threatened, they feel as if their self-worth is under assault. Accordingly, they will firmly resist anyone or anything that could reduce their status.

On the other hand, author Buck Rogers says, "To those who have confidence in themselves, change is a stimulus because they believe one person can make a difference and influence what goes on around them. These people are the doers and the motivators." They are also the empowerers.

Enlarging others makes you larger. The purpose of power is to be distributed, not hoarded, but only secure leaders are able to give their power away. Recognize and resist the natural inclinations to keep a tight grip on power. In the long run, you'll be rewarded for letting go. I'll close with a quotation on empowerment from decorated war hero and former vice presidential candidate, James B. Stockdale:

"Leadership must be based on goodwill... It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers... What we need for leaders are men of heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away."

John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. Access his bi-monthly newsletter, Leadership Wiredhttp://www.giantimpact.com/newsletters/aboutnews/


Mowing Strategies and Fertilization Improves Sports Fields

Learn how mowing strategies and fertilization practices improve sports fields. Click here for the research study.

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