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What Straw Bale Gardening Can Teach You About Sales Productivity

HubSpot Video


Hello, I'm Deb Calvert, my company is called People First Productivity Solutions. I know it's a very long name, but it's no accident that the word "productivity" is a part of that name. That's a word that's always been really important to me. It's a value that I hold. I think I come by it honestly. My name, Debra, comes from a root word that means "the bee." And I've always enjoyed being a worker bee, flitting from one thing to the next, but making sure that all the work I do yields some sort of product or dividend in the end.

And that's worked for me throughout my career. When I was in sales, I once had a sales manager, Steve Lindblad, who said, "Deb gets more done by 10 a.m. than most people get done in a day", and I, I really valued that compliment. It meant a lot to me. That was high praise indeed. Well, in sales, being productive actually is a great quality. It's not about the busy work. It's about making sure that the work you do produces something of value.

It's about being smart in how you allocate your time, finding the shortcuts, looking for the sales hacks, being savvy with the technology and the enablement tools that you use. Being productive means that you get more done in less time and you get it done. Well, even in my hobbies, I look for ways to be productive. And I'd like to tell you more about that by sharing with you my garden. It's a very special kind of garden.

I grow 57 different crops in bales of straw. Let me tell you a little bit more about that as it will help to illustrate what I mean.

When I talk about sales productivity, I'm going to be showing you my straw bale garden, something I'm really proud of, something this entire series will be bringing it to you bit by bit. My straw bale garden is exactly what it sounds like. It's a garden where I am currently growing 57 different types of herbs and vegetables, and I have 60 bales of straw. I also have some containers. There are a few things that I'm growing in dirt, but the straw bale garden is really pretty important to me when it comes to productivity.

And here's why it's important to me because when you have a straw bale garden, you are far more effective, far more efficient than you can be with with the standard traditional garden.

See, I lived in California for 15 years and we didn't have room for a garden. And then I moved back to Missouri, where I'm from. We purchased a piece of rural property, because I wanted to do gardening, and I realized that I'm not as young as I used to be. The idea of getting down in the dirt, doing lots of bending and weeding and shoveling and hoeing and raking, dealing with weeds and bugs, just wasn't all that appealing to me. But I'd worked with a lot of agriculture accounts over the years, and I knew a few things about substrate and other alternative forms of growing.

So I was keen to try straw bale gardening. When you grow in straw bales, these are the advantages that make you more productive. See first of all, the straw, you condition it, I'll talk about that in a later video, but it breaks everything up so that the inside of the straw bale becomes just like dirt as a medium to grow. And when you put it up on pallets, as you can see that I've done, well, what that means is that you don't have to do any of that at that bending and stooping that I was keen to avoid.

And because straw is confusing, it winds and it weaves, none of the bugs you would typically find on the ground, will get up into that straw. All you have to worry about are the flying insects. And because they haven't formed a habit over the years of nesting in your area, if you have a garden like mine that's out in the open, then you're going to be able to avoid most of them. There are no weeds and we set up a watering system, soaker hoses, like you see in the upper right hand picture so that I barely have to go out there and do any watering.

It's all on automated timers now. I actually enjoy watering, so sometimes I go out and do that anyway. But what happens in the straw bales is that you have a wonderful growing medium. You can't overwater because the straw sheds water, nothing is going to pool and you can grow things quickly and you can grow things that would really surprise you in terms of what you can grow and you can do it really effectively.

We started off with 24 straw bales. Last year, I did 48. This year I'm using 60 bales of straw. There are certain things you have to do like conditioning the straw bales. What you see here, I'm watering in at the very beginning, early in the season when it's still cold outside. In February I'm watering nitrogen into the bales of straw, urea, so that it helps to break them down and warm it up inside the bales. And at the beginning of the season, as you can see there, with my little baby plants that are popping up through when I plant seeds directly in, I do give them a little bit of dirt that serves as a compost until the straw is fully amended and decomposing properly.

And in no time, crops begin to grow. Early spring crops like lettuce and peas and beets and later crops, even root crops like potatoes, which are super easy to harvest because there's no digging actually by that time of year. All you do is sort of tap on the edge of the straw bale with your foot and the potatoes virtually fall out. There are so many things that are easier and faster and superior when it comes to gardening in straw bales that they made me more productive.

And in the very same way, I believe that sales ought to be as productive as it can be for you too. Find the shortcuts, use the tips and techniques and tricks that are available to you, look for the things that make you more efficient and that work better so that you can be effective in your selling and it can be easier for you to do.

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