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Ask McFarlin Stanford: Unlocking the leader within

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Question marks (Photo: iStock.com/Bet_Noire)
Photo: iStock.com/Bet_Noire
Jason New
Jason New

You can’t do it alone. If the landscape industry has taught me anything, it’s that leadership and support are key to the innovation, growth and strength of any successful team. This belief is the driving force behind the creation of this brand-new Ask McFarlin Stanford column, a dedicated space for us to focus on leadership strategies rooted in the real challenges faced by landscape business leaders like you.

The purpose behind this new column is simple but incredibly impactful. Most landscape business owners have the desire and ability to grow but often lack the skills and support to do so effectively and profitably.

Through this column, I aim to bridge this gap by offering insights into leadership that go beyond the surface, providing practical advice tailored to your specific needs.

What you can expect

Here, you’ll read thoughtful tactics and strategies you can apply in your own business right now. My advice won’t ever be theoretical — it will be real-world lessons I’ve learned through 24 years of hands-on time in the green industry. That first-hand experience, along with my time with NALP leading the education committee and others, I’ve lived through all the challenges you face every day.

Now, as a Founding Principal of McFarlin Stanford, I have the honor of working alongside landscape businesses of all sizes across the U.S. and Canada. Through ACE Peer Groups, our coaching program partnership with The Grow Group, I’m proud to say we guide a community of successful companies almost 200 strong with a combined revenue exceeding $1 billion. The leadership wins and struggles we’ve been through together will provide a rich source of real-world experience we’ll draw upon for the actionable strategies shared with you in this column.

And, while my name graces the byline, you’ll actually be tapping into the power of the entire executive team of coaches and experts at McFarlin Stanford with a wealth of green industry experience in all areas of the business. Our team of seasoned executive coaches will be influencing my leadership advice on everything from operations and sales to finance and HR.

Choose your own adventure

As we embark on this journey together, I invite you to be an active participant. Think of Ask McFarlin Stanford as your space, driven by your questions and fueled by your curiosity.

Your questions will shape the advice and insights I share. Whether it’s unraveling team dynamics, demystifying financial strategies or unlocking your team’s full potential, we’ll explore all of these topics through our experienced lens of leadership.

Where should you start?

We don’t have a reader question to answer here today, but we want to offer you a free resource to give you a glimpse into the kinds of advice and topics we will explore. One of the first questions we get from clients is, “Where should I start?”

While it’s not always the same answer, the most common place we start is making sure leaders know their numbers. It’s the first step to understanding everything in your business. It’s difficult to make effective decisions without being comfortable reading your financials.

So here are two free tools for you:

  • Profitability Scorecard: This download is a great introduction to the vital parts of your profit and loss statement (P&L). You can download it here: McFarlinStanford.com/scorecard
  • Listen to this podcast episode with our own CFO, Liz Helton, for more detail on our favorite P&L strategy, the 50/40/10 rule. Listen here now for more: McFarlinStanford.com/cfo

What’s next?

To submit your question for a future column, go to LandscapeManagement.net and look for Ask McFarlin Stanford.

I’m honored Landscape Management asked me to take the lead in providing a platform where you can ask questions and we can share our experiences — you don’t have to do it alone. Thanks for reading and I look forward to answering your questions in a future issue.

Until then, lead with purpose, grow with passion and never stop asking questions.

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