Hire an ‘A’ player

March 1, 2006 -  By

This article ran in the March 2006 issue of Landscape Design/Build, a supplement to Landscape Management.

At some point, every growing company will need to hire the right project manager. After years of selling, designing and overseeing installations, the owner-manager gets stuck. The owner can’t grow the company any larger because he or she doesn’t have the time to effectively do three jobs: sales, design and project management. The solution? Hire a manager to oversee the installation, and allow the owner-manager to focus on sales and design.

You could promote your best foreman into the position, giving him or her a raise in pay. This might work without costing you a lot of money. Chances are, however, that this person will not succeed in the job — he or she is probably a “B” player, and this is clearly an “A” player hire.

Don’t get me wrong. Companies need “B” players. “B” players are great employees. But “B” players are not “A” players. An “A” player is a manager. A “B” player is a doer. You pay the “A” player to figure out what needs to be done. You pay the “B” players to get it done. The problem is “A” players cost more money. In the long run, however, “A” players should save you more money than they cost.

As an example, let’s assume the “A” player costs $20,000 more per year than the “B” player. How much impact would he or she need to make to justify the additional $20,000? Let’s assume that one of the impacts of the “A” player is to reduce wasted labor hours through better job planning and management. In this example, the $20,000 increase in overhead would have to be exactly offset by a $20,000 decrease in labor. At an average wage of $15, this equates to a reduction in labor hours from 12,667 to 11,333. The difference of 1,333 hours per year can be reduced to a needed savings of less than one hour per man, per day.

Do you think that an “A” player project manager could find you one hour per day, per man in labor savings? In my experience, they usually deliver twice that amount in the first year. Is it worth the money to get the right person? It’s not only worth it, but it’s a must for a company that wants to grow.

About the Author:

Kevin Kehoe, a longtime landscape industry consultant, is managing partner at Aspire Software.

Comments are currently closed.