Business Insider: 3 things to build a solid team to run your business

September 19, 2022 -  By
(Photo: Prostock-Studio/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

(Photo: Prostock-Studio/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Last month I wrote about retiring in place instead of selling your business. To retire in place, you need a super leadership team and possibly someone to take your place. Here are three options for how to set that up.

1. Super leadership team

All companies need a super team to prosper and grow. On a recent episode of my podcast, The Ultimate Landscape CEO, I interviewed Krisjan Berzins of Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape in Alexandria, Va. His team runs his entire business so that he can focus on other ventures and occasionally race his car at the track.

He is not alone. I am currently working with an entrepreneur who lives in Boulder, Colo., and runs a landscape business located five states away. He moved to Colorado for his wife’s job, and he runs the business from afar, so it’s critical his team steps up.

We are working to build a super team with key positions in HR, sales, production and finance. Once he has the right people with the right systems, this company will practically run itself — as long as he stays actively engaged as the spark plug.

A super team requires five elements:

  • A+ players in each position, with high grades for culture fit and job performance. These leaders must have the ability to keep growing and work interdependently without drama. Pro tip: Invest more than you might be comfortable with to fill the critical spots.
  • Clear lanes: This is a foundational step for companies of all sizes. Separate roles and remove the overlap.
  • Meaningful metrics: Each position needs a clear definition of a daily, weekly and monthly “win.” Leaders will have at least three to five metrics per position.
  • Constructive honesty: Your team needs to be brutally honest with one another in three directions: side to side (with each other), from the bottom up (from them to you) and from the top down (from you to them). When constructive honesty prevails, your team will push one another to higher levels.
  • Bold vision: Your super team members will achieve high-performance goals when their idea of what’s possible stretches with a bold vision for the future (three-plus years).

2. Second-in-command

Once you build your super team — or to help you build it — you can bring on a second-in-command to run the team and help run the company.

The main reasons to add this role are:

  • Health: You are not up to the task of overseeing the team and the details.
  • Succession: You want to sell the business and would like someone to learn it before buying.
  • Skill set: You need someone with strengths that complement yours.
  • Team building: You want someone else to oversee your people, keep them happy, mentor them and
    build the team.
  • Organization: Managing and integrating the budgets, schedules, systems and staffing is a huge job.

Do you promote from within or recruit from the outside? I have witnessed many false starts when owners hire for this position. Move slow, use a methodical approach and hire someone with the runway to help you grow.

Above all else, you need someone you can trust with your largest investment. It takes time to figure that out.

3. First-in-command

For those who truly want to be out of the management business, consider hiring a CEO to run your firm from top to bottom.

Some seconds-in-command have the ability to step up, but don’t assume they have what it takes. If you know upfront you want a CEO, you can target your recruiting initiative.

Look for a proven leader with a pedigree in business growth, financial acumen and team building.

If you want help with succession planning, reach out to me, and we can have a conversation.

Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit

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