Monday Motivation: How to Celebrate Your Challenges


When many of Ryan Lawn & Tree’s customers experienced damage to their trees because of Imprelis, most of the clients were not even aware of the issue until Larry Ryan, owner of Ryan Lawn & Tree, and his team informed them of it. Ryan not only pointed out the damage, but his company also went in and fixed their mistake as well.

Read more: Imprelis Two Years Later

While it was a risky move to address roughly $30 million worth of damage done to customers’ landscaping, the company’s selfless customer service paid off in the end, with sales actually increasing following the controversy.

Ryan has owned Ryan Lawn & Tree throughout his 29 years in the industry. While the Imprelis incident was a blow to his $27 million company and his stock price, Ryan found it actually had more positive effects than negative ones in the long run.

“It was a terrible event to go through. It was really a hard customer service lesson, but a customer service lesson it was. We could not have had a better training ground for having to deal with tough customer issues than dealing with one after the other after the other,” Ryan explains.

Most business owners do not want to experience roadblocks, hurdles or delays. These often affect work flow, profit and, sometimes, customer service. Ryan, however, welcomes the challenges. These bumps in the road have made his company stronger, and they have learned to better address customer needs because of them.

Working with Missouri and Kansas residential clients on maintenance projects, Ryan Lawn & Tree just recently settled all of the lawsuits regarding the Imprelis damage. For Ryan, surviving the Imprelis disaster proved that the best teacher is often experience. The company used hands-on, trustworthy customer service to transform a nearly $30 million mistake into a positive return. In 29 years, Ryan has never learned more from any experience than from dealing with the Imprelis damage, and he is still learning from it to this day.

“We continue to grow through that. Our sales went up. We were hurt, we have a black eye from it, we survived it and we’ve gone on,” Ryan says.

So just as Ryan’s monthly meetings celebrate individual employees and his yearly meetings celebrate the entire company, he also takes the time to celebrate his mistakes.

“Solving those problems and realizing you can do it is huge. Celebrate your problems. Do not complain about them, but look for a solution. Oftentimes it challenges us to change the way we think,” Ryan discusses.

“I would rather be at work on Monday morning oftentimes than leaving for the weekend on Friday. I’m not one of those people who looks to have Fridays off.