Why Headstrong Head Growers Won’t Help Your Business Get Ahead


A headstrong grower is a cultivator that believes their way is the only way to grow.

They won’t consider other cultivation methods, and they’re particular about the equipment, technology, and inputs they use.

In my experience, this stubbornness is rooted in insecurity. Growers that claim their way is the only way are really saying, “This is the only way that I have been successful.”

This is most common among cultivators that haven’t worked in traditional horticultural environments or grown commercial crops apart from cannabis.

On the surface, it might seem beneficial to hire a lead cultivator that’s so loyal to their convictions and beliefs about growing. Someone so passionate and headstrong about cultivating “their way” couldn’t possibly be detrimental to your operation, right?


Hiring these kinds of growers is risky business. Here’s why:

1. Headstrong growers design facilities for themselves.

A headstrong grower will design a facility precisely to their liking or insist on retrofitting an existing facility to accommodate their preferences. Six months later, should the grower disagree with management (imagine that!), and they quit, now you’re stuck with a custom-built facility for a grower that’s long gone.

2. Headstrong growers don’t share.

Usually, these growers keep the entire production program in their heads. Should the grower leave, the cultivation program goes with them, and the company is left scrambling to pick up the pieces.

3. Headstrong growers are difficult to work with.

Headstrong cultivators act untouchable because they believe the facility can’t function without them. This is evident in how the grower treats the rest of the cultivation team and management. This can leave ownership feeling out of control of their own business.

So how do cultivation businesses avoid this problem? Easy. Don’t hire a headstrong grower.

There is a difference between hiring someone that is committed to the success of your cultivation program and hiring someone that simply won’t listen. Why would you want an employee like this on your team, let alone filling the most influential position in your cultivation business?

Fortunately, we can nip this problem in the bud during the hiring process. As you meet interested growers, ask questions that will help shed light on their growing philosophies.

Don’t worry—you don’t need to be a cultivation expert to determine whether someone is an appropriate fit for your business. You only need to be a good listener. If a grower is unwilling to consider alternatives to their narrow vision of success, this will become evident if you ask the right questions.

Consider how these two candidates respond to the same interview question:

Interviewer: “How would you grow if we hired you?”

Candidate #1: “Using rockwool with LED lights and my special 14-part fertilizer.”

Interviewer: “The facility is already built. We’re planning to grow with ProMix, HPS lamps, and a simple 2-part fertilizer.”

Candidate #1: “Whoever designed your facility gave you bad advice. You need to switch out those lights for the latest LEDs and implement my proprietary 14-part fertilizer program. That will mean changing up your irrigation equipment, too. Trust me, it’s the best way to do it.”

Now, consider the alternative:

Interviewer: “How would you grow if we hired you?”

Candidate #2: “Who is your customer? What is your end product? How is your facility set up now?”

Interviewer: “We want to grow craft-quality flower and sell wholesale to adult-use dispensaries. We’re planning to grow with ProMix, HPS lamps, and a simple 2-part fertilizer.”

Candidate #2: “I’ve only grown with LEDs, but HPS lamps have been used on cannabis for decades, so I’m sure I can make it work. I’ve had great success adding silica to my plants, but it’s usually not present in 2-part fertilizers. Once we get rolling, I’d love to set up a small trial to see if adding silica might benefit the crop. When can I start?”

The headstrong grower will swear by their technique regardless of where the cannabis is destined. Their method may not be appropriate, or it may be overkill, considering the end product.

On the contrary, open-minded growers know that the end product will dictate the most appropriate growing method. Even if the facility is built in a way that the candidate might not prefer, they are confident enough in their own skill that they know they can make it work.

These traits are the sign of a true grower. Confident, experienced, and open to new challenges.

These growers do exist; they’re just not always as obvious as the boisterous, in-your-face, chest-thumping headstrong grower.

You wouldn’t hire this kind of person in any other industry. Why suspend reason now that you’re in the cannabis business?

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