High Performance: The season within the season

May 10, 2017 -  By

Did you ever realize there are seasons within a season? Spring is obviously one of four major seasons of the year. But within the spring season there are mini-seasons. For example, there is the season of transition from winter to spring when equipment needs to be prepared, materials need to be purchased, hiring ramps up, training occurs, etc. There is a season of spring clean-ups. There is mulching season. There is a mowing season. There is a pruning season. You get the picture.

For each of these mini-seasons, it’s important to take a few minutes to capture the highlights. This move will better prepare you for next year when this season is most certainly going to appear again. Highlights should include the good, the bad and the ugly, the wins and losses, the hits and misses–however you wish to frame it. Perform a brief autopsy on the season. Identify those things that worked and the things that didn’t work. Capture it in writing so it won’t be forgotten.

Earlier in my career, I managed a retail garden center. We had all sorts of mini-seasons. For each mini-season, every store manager at every location in the company was required to submit a brief report to the corporate office. For example, Easter was a mini-season all to itself. The Easter season lasted about three weeks–two weeks prior to Easter Sunday and a week after Easter Sunday–to clear out any remaining inventory and reset for the next mini-season, which was Mother’s Day.

The questions on the Easter season recap report were simple. What worked well regarding plant selection, plant quality, quantities, setup instructions, signage, etc.? What didn’t work well? What should we change for next year? Imagine the insights generated by having more than 300 store managers completing these reports chainwide.

I see the value in performing a written autopsy on each mini-season for landscape contractors. I understand how these mini-seasons tend to blur together and the challenge with stopping for minute to reflect on what just happened, especially if there is no corporate office to answer to. I also know that without a written autopsy, there is a good chance the same mistakes will be made again next year.

Now go forth.


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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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