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Dyersville, Iowa ? Growers Supply has teamed up with LumiGrow, Inc. to offer LED lighting solutions for greenhouse and controlled environment agriculture environments beginning in September. With the LumiGrow Pro 325 and 650 Horticultural Lights, growers can reduce energy costs and boost yields by providing the exact light levels and spectra that plants need.
LumiGrow Pro series lights feature a 50,000 hour rating without degradation, lasting up to 10 times longer than high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps. Further savings are achieved because these fixtures run 70 percent cooler than HID lamps, reducing greenhouse cooling requirements.
The LumiGrow Pro series is available in two models. Pro 325, with a typical energy consumption of 325 watts, is designed for commercial greenhouses and controlled environment agriculture, and will provide growers with 70 percent energy savings compared to a 1,000-watt HID light.
For growers and scientists who require a higher PAR output, the Pro 650 typically uses 650 watts and reduces energy costs by 40 percent versus a 1,000-watt HID light. The LumiGrow Pro 650 doubles the red and blue photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) output of 1,000-watt HID fixtures and the LumiGrow Pro 325 achieves parity with 1,000-watt HID lights.
Effective leadership is based on ongoing input and feedback. Where 20 years ago managers rarely asked for input, today effective leaders are regularly seeking and receiving employee feedback. Leaders elicit cooperation from employees and other individuals when they listen to them. To move employees forward, leaders first identify their needs by asking for their feedback, which allows leaders to modify their behavior to serve the best interests of their employees and business.
Effective tool. Feedback is an effective communication mechanism that enhances productivity and motivation. Leaders use it to create a positive sense of direction that increases efficiency and reduces stress among employees. It empowers employees and gives them ownership in both the ideas and direction driving the organization.
This is important for leaders to appreciate, as studies have shown that employees informed of the organization’s goals and progress are more productive and better able to persevere under difficult circumstances. These are indispensable qualities in the current business climate, as in challenging times the informed employee is more likely to work closely with leaders to resolve problems and stabilize situations. Sharing information rather than withholding it enhances a sense of positive, coordinated teamwork.
The essence of leadership is to persuade others rather than control them. Persuasion is not a one-way process but a continuous feedback loop from employee to leader. The loop incorporates listening, understanding the employee’s point of view and perspectives, and positively responding to their needs.
Selling their ideas. When leaders communicate they are in essence selling their ideas to others. To effectively accomplish this they must:
- Create a dialogue around their idea or concept
- Convince others their idea is valid
- Actively interact with individuals to brainstorm and solicit new ideas, insights and viewpoints
- Build a relationship with them
This is an extremely productive chain of feedback. It demonstrates to employees that the leader values and respects them. If a leader has failed to persuade others, they have also failed to understand their needs and concerns.
Leaders solicit their employees’ feedback for a number of reasons. Feedback provides continuous testing of an idea or concept against actual conditions and underlying expectations. When leaders solicit feedback, they are asking their employees to question the assumptions behind the idea or concept, examine the expectations connected with it and assess the realistic impact it could have on their organization. This amounts to a mutual search for solutions yielding shared advantages to all parties.
The use of feedback by leaders also enhances their effectiveness. The Drucker Institute reported that when leaders ask for input from their employees, learn from the feedback in a positive and non-defensive attitude, and follow up in a focused and efficient manner, they become more effective and are perceived accordingly by their managers, employees and superiors.
The pitfall to avoid is the soliciting of feedback from employees, then reacting emotionally and negatively to any bad news or information, in essence “shooting the messenger.” This only serves to quickly close down communication and replace it with an atmosphere of mistrust and paranoia.
Excerpted from "Improving Communication in the Workplace: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series" (Majorium Business Press, 2011). Timothy F. Bednarz is the author of “Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It” from Majorium Business Press; email@example.com.
Mobile payment systems options are growing for small businesses. Soon, customers won’t even have to bring their wallets to purchase items at the local coffee shop, or the garden center.
Cell phone app Square is starting to make a splash as it expands its reach, and will start handling credit and debit card transactions for Starbucks this fall. The free Square card reader attaches directly to the retailer’s cell phone, allowing an individual to swipe all major credit cards. The app allows customers to download the payment program and pay with their phones.
Isis, a joint project from AT&T, T Mobile and Verizon Wireless, is still under development, but small businesses are starting to take notice. Through it, customers would pay through a special chip in their phone, a credit card number stored in an app, or a small attachment that that allows a smartphone to read cards.
Others, like Google Wallet, GoPayment and LevelUp are all making strides in development as well. As the technology progresses and makes it easier for potential customers to spend, it may be coming to a garden center near you.
EarthBox, the sub-irrigated growing container, is going to good use at a community garden in Indian Shores, Florida.
The Indian Shores EarthBox Community Garden opened July 19 with 45 Earthbox containers. Additional EarthBoxes will be added in phases.
Because the community of Indian Shores has a high percentage of seniors, some of the EarthBoxes sit atop stands which make it possible to garden without bending over. The stands also make it easier to garden for those in wheelchairs.
“I am really happy to get this community garden built,” said Jim Lawrence, Mayor of Indian Shores. “There is a need for this type of garden. Condo residents don’t normally have the opportunity to grow vegetables.”
To participate in the community garden, residents purchase one or more of the EarthBoxes already set up in the garden by the city. The EarthBoxes in the garden sell for $69.55 each, or $112.35 each with a stand. Each EarthBox comes with potting soil, so problems associated with the local sandy soil are bypassed. Automatic watering for each EarthBox is provided by the city, and there is no additional space rental fee. Once a resident purchases an EarthBox, he or she is responsible for obtaining seeds or plants to put into the container.
Indian Shores chose to open an EarthBox garden rather than a traditional, in-ground community garden to create a “zero discharge” garden. Because EarthBoxes contain their own water reservoirs, the containers are designed to be a closed-loop system using water and fertilizer extremely efficiently. Therefore, there is no discharge of water or fertilizer into the neighboring area.