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How to Avoid These 5 Ginormous Landscape Leadership Mistakes

As an owner, fessing up to missteps in business building and management is hard. When you know something isn’t going well in your operational systems or with your personnel, it’s easy to stand back and put your head in the sand or focus on something less challenging. The cost is your relational and professional credibility with your staff. You can’t afford that cost. It’s both too high and hard to come back from. So, what do you do? You have to face it head-on. Name it clearly without blaming or shaming anyone - especially yourself. Then, outline what needs to be done, write out the steps, and take action. 

Topics: Staffing & Development

How To Get The Best Out Of Your Landscape Employees

That familiar lament of landscape business owners and managers – “you just can’t get good help these days” – is more myth than reality. The truth is, there’s plenty of good help out there and workers who really do want to be engaged, supported, and appreciated. However, often the problem is that business leaders are so busy and distracted that they only give employees peripheral attention. Let’s not kid ourselves – employees notice when their concerns are pushed to the back and they’re not receiving feedback on their efforts and performance.  Fortunately, there’s a better way to handle employee relations, it just takes a little effort.

Topics: Staffing & Development

Five Tools for Cultivating a Compassionate Culture in Your Business

As a landscape business owner with over 30 years in the business, I know that our employees are more important than any truck, piece of equipment, or account. Without them, we cannot hope to reach our business growth goals.

To that end, I decided to start 2018 off with a management team training focus in the hopes that with their development would come the next wave of success for The Garden Continuum.

Ten of us have been working since the opening of the season to define our internal culture. We started with a managers luncheon to introduce the idea of culture-building to the team. We then spent three weeks talking about the book “Braving the Wilderness” by Brene Brown, which introduces the concept of “True Belonging” as the primary concern of all people.

Topics: Staffing & Development

How do landscape employees choose the company to work for?

As a landscape business owner and consultant, the biggest challenge I hear about from other landscape company owners is how hard it is to find good help. Many landscape business owners are simply shooting in the dark to find employees for their businesses. They’re looking for warm bodies -- people to do the work at hand, right NOW. They aren’t focusing on the big picture of business development when they’re hunting for staff. They’re just happy to find anyone who can rescue them in the moment.

And therein lies the root of the problem. They’re allowing short-term needs to drive their long-term goals. And that’s no way to run a successful business. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to start thinking of staffing in the same way you think of building a landscape. It’s a process, not a project, and it has to be connected to a long-term vision of what you want your company to be next year, five years, ten years from now.

Topics: Staffing & Development

3 Critical Tools You Should Be Using When Hiring Subcontractors

The use of subcontractors is a time-honored means for landscape designers and contractors to control overhead and keep operations lean and mean. But subcontractors can be a double-edged sword that can work for you or against you if you are not aware of potential pitfalls.

It all starts with setting the stage properly for your working relationship. It’s important to clearly articulate the parameters and expectations for working with your company – and then holding subs accountable for working within those parameters and delivering on those expectations.

If you’re clear about your service offering and the resources you have in-house, then you’ll know exactly what help you’ll need to get from subs. That should enable you to easily craft a document that outlines your specific needs for a particular subcontractor and your expectations for receiving that assistance.

Topics: Staffing & Development

5 Reasons why you need to invest in ALL your employees

Every business seems to have one or two employees who stand out. They’re the ones who show up early and stay late. They’re focused on doing the best job possible and are always looking for ways to improve. These are the employees that landscape business owners and managers gravitate toward, encouraging them, and focusing their attention on these superstars because they’re the ones helping the company succeed.

And why not? Everyone loves a superstar. They’re often the hero in situations where others would just shrug and look for the easiest way out. The superstars revel in being the go-to person when a job or task needs to get done. This, of course, makes you, the owner, grateful to have that kind of support and reliability when the going gets tough. It’s very easy to lean on this one person and focus your time and energy on nurturing them.

Topics: Staffing & Development

How To Find The Perfect People For Your Landscape Organization

There is no question that the landscape industry is a people business. As an owner, you have to build relationships with clients and hire the right employees who can interface with them to maintain and grow those relationships.

As I shared in the last Academy Blog, the company culture is a critical element in your business success. So the big question, now that you know that culture is so important, and now that you’ve gotten clear on your company’s mission, purpose and values is this…

Topics: Staffing & Development

What Type of Landscape Team Should You Build?

How to hire good employees is one of the top three major issues I hear about over and over again from other landscape business owners. Hiring in the landscape industry tends to be a knee-jerk reaction to an immediate need for working hands.

Desperate to hire somebody – anybody – landscape business owners often end up operating in what I call “a land of misfit toys,” hobbled by a mix-and-match group of individuals with misaligned values and goals. It is just impossible to build a culture of success around those ingredients. In fact, I’ve identified three basic types of poorly-conceived landscape teams that cause business owners unnecessary and avoidable suffering.

Topics: Staffing & Development