What do you look for when you hire a new person for a pest control technician's position? Experience with pest control? Dependability? Good driving record? How about the ability to value other people?
I’m just an entomologist, not a psychologist; but even an entomologist can recognize the power of an appreciative word. And as an integrated pest management (IPM) specialist, I’ve come to value people who can build a loyal IPM team.
In its most basic form IPM is about people. This is true on all levels, but especially for IPM programs within large institutions that require the cooperation of many departments and individuals. If you look at dysfunctional IPM programs (yes, they exist) one of the first things you notice is a lack of appreciation for the jobs and accomplishments of others in the organization. The best programs, on the other hand, have leaders who are able to value and recognize the contributions of others.
I was reminded of this yesterday sitting in on a simple ceremony in the staff kitchen of Memorial Elementary School in Plano, TX. David Lewis and Leo Largaespada, IPM Coordinator and IPM technician, respectively, for the Plano Independent School District (PISD), invited me to attend an appreciation lunch for one of their top kitchen teams in the district. The lunch was a simple affair, but illustrated powerfully a principle that often gets overlooked in our fancy ideas about what IPM is all about.
The most powerful words in IPM tool box may well be, “we appreciate you”. Take a look at the video below and see if you don't agree.