Transition in any form or capacity always brings its challenges, but I truly believe that with change, comes growth. My father, Roger Mongeon, was Chief Executive Officer of Weed Man USA /
Turf Holdings Inc. since its inception back in 1996 when he purchased the rights to franchise in the United States. And before then, he was a successful franchisee in Canada. In 2020, he decided it was time to step down as CEO and pass the reins to me.
The idea of transitioning from COO to CEO really wasn’t all that difficult. It felt natural and I think it was easier simply due to having grown up in the culture; Weed Man has always been a part of my life in some way – I’ve worked in every position within the company, and really learned the business inside and out. My dad and I have always worked very closely together and are (and always have been) aligned in terms of how we view the company, our vision for the future of Weed Man, how it’s run from the top down and our philosophy of not only treating our franchisees like customers, but also like family. He was always laser-focused on the success of our franchisees, and I didn’t feel compelled to change that at all. In fact, I wanted to go down that same path and continue what my dad started all those years ago.
With that being said, I transitioned from COO to CEO during a global pandemic. Throw the Coronavirus into the equation, and what I anticipated to be a fairly straight-forward transition turned into something a little more complex and scary. It was uncharted territory. I was leading the pack; everyone looked at me for the answers, and I didn’t always know what to say. In fact, I recall having to take extra deep breaths prior to hosting network-wide COVID-19 update calls, just to gather myself and my thoughts.
Emotions were running high, but I very quickly realized that I wasn’t alone. I had to believe in my corporate team and lean on our sub-franchisor network, too. I relied on them for advice and feedback, and we were consistently aligned with how we wanted to communicate and strategize. We were very transparent and honest with our franchisees, and felt like that was the only
way to go. If I didn’t have the answers, they trusted me to find them. And that was a very empowering feeling.
You’d think that as the CEO or leader of the company, you’d need to have all of the answers, but I learned that I didn’t. My Dad and I spent years creating this amazing team to lean on for support. I put a lot of faith into those relationships and the trust that was already in place. In addition to my staff and our sub-franchisor network, I also relied on our competitors. I’ve always had
a great relationship with them, but crisis hit and we truly became a team. We had open discussions, compared strategies and leaned on one another…and we all came out on top. Our trade and national associations were all incredible resources as well.
Everyone was in the same boat; we were all just trying to navigate this huge hurdle that we were presented with, and we weren’t really sure where to go. Communication at every level was top-notch, and that’s something that we really utilized to help form a strategy. On that note, our industry was very lucky to have experienced demand and growth opportunities during this difficult time. We witnessed success and have had two record-breaking years back-to-back.
Although it was a time of turmoil – and of course it would’ve been great if none of us had to experience COVID-19 at all, but for me especially during my first year as CEO – it honestly made me stronger and better equipped my team and I, to help us face anything that comes our way in the future. Over the past year or so, I grew as a person and as a leader more than I ever could have imagined. Facing adversity made the role transition a lot quicker (I had no choice but to move quickly!), but I grew through it… and to me, that’s a win! I still don’t know that I have all of the answers, but I learned that I don’t need all of them right now.
Our company has gone through some major changes over the past couple of years – we acquired Weed Man Canada in late 2018, we recently added a new sub-brand, Mosquito Hero, we dealt with and conquered a global pandemic, and on top of it all, I’m now CEO of the largest franchised lawn care company in the world. Life is good!
For more information on franchising with Weed Man, visit us online today at www.weedmanfranchise.com