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Grow with Grunder: Take advantage of metrics to make smart decisions

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(Photo: tadamichi / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)
(Photo: tadamichi / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

I often remind my team at Grunder Landscaping Co. (GLC) and my fellow landscape pros that good managers make good decisions with good information. When we pay attention to the right metrics and when our data is good, we can make smart decisions.

We are blessed to be in an industry with a ton of data right at our fingertips and a shining example of a team that uses data well is Landscape Workshop in Birmingham, Ala. Their culture revolves around metrics, which allows them to give automatic feedback to their team on their performance and to guide everything their leadership team does. We are excited for them to host our field trip in partnership with National Association of Landscape Professionals on June 11-12, 2024, but what I want to drive home for you this week is that you must have a system in place to help your team understand the score.

There are three things you can do right now to make this happen this season:

  • Start tracking hours. Hours really are the core component of what we sell and manage. It takes hours to install beautiful landscapes, it takes hours to maintain commercial properties and it takes hours to travel around our towns to go perform our work. We need to know all about how those hours are being spent, when they are productive and when they are not productive. This week, make sure you can track hours and start discussing it with your team daily.
  • Post metrics publicly. We all have various levels of data to share. No matter what level of data you have, find a place to share it publicly. I know, it can be scary to be that transparent, but we have seen how much this has helped educate our team at Grunder Landscaping Co. Seth Pflum – our President – walks through that data formally once a month with our entire team. And I am reminded of what my friend Jim Cali said once, “If you have blowback about sharing metrics with your team, you don’t have a metric problem, you have a culture problem.” Ain’t that the truth!
  • Healthy competition is good. Tracking metrics and sharing them publicly will shed light on who your top performers are. The team at Landscape Workshop has created a culture of friendly competition where the top performers know they are the top performers, and everyone else can look at those top performers as an example of how they can improve. Your winners want to see themselves winning and those who are in second and third just might make an extra effort to be a winner next month. So, let your team see where they stand.
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