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Leading: Details, always

March 29, 2017 -  By

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The third crucial leadership skill is paying attention to the details, always. Once you’ve assembled the right team (People First) and galvanized them into a cohesive group focused on your shared vision (Purpose Second), the key to achieving success is embedded in paying attention to the daily details that add up to make a huge difference.

Think of it this way: In the landscape business, if you’ll walk past a noticeable weed in the garden, you’ll be willing to overlook much bigger problems. As the leader of a business, a business unit, or a crew, if you’re not that detail person, make sure you have someone by your side who pays attention to details.

In a service business, there are multiple, crucial touch points throughout the service delivery process. You might associate these in your mind with “high-touch” businesses like the restaurant business, but the reality is these touch points are just as important in your landscape business; although they are spread out over months, rather than a few hours.

Consider all the ways that your team’s actions impact the customer experience. This goes far beyond the service delivery itself; after all, that’s what you get paid to do and is essential to staying in business! Get it right; make it sharp. I think of this as 51 percent of the deal, along with a similar percentage of the associated details.

So what about the other 49 percent? Here are a few things the leader must consider:

  • What does “done right” look like?
  • How do you consistently communicate that you’re competent and you care?
  • How do you respond when something goes wrong?
  • Are your crews uniformed and sharp?
  • When was the last time your trucks were washed and waxed?
  • Are your service standards clear? And do your customers know what they are, too?
  • Is everyone focused on safety?
  • And the list goes on…

The point is to identify those specific things that wrap around the service itself and make it stand out in the customer’s mind. Those specific things are called details and are absolutely the leader’s business to know, communicate and inspect.

Leaders should consider People First, Purpose Second and Details, Always!

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About the Author:

William (Bill) Dellecker is the Chief Development Officer of HeartLand LLC, which is dedicated to building relationships and delivering exceptional service through leading commercial landscape firms across the Mid West and Mountain West. You can learn more about Heartland at http://heartlandcompany.com. Bill also writes regularly about business culture and leadership on his personal blog, cultivation(s).

2 Comments on "Leading: Details, always"

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  1. Hi Mr. Dellecker:
    I enjoyed reading through your list, making notes for the ways to upgrade service standards. You made some great points. having set standards for each particular job with service standards in place or systems is a great start. Writing them down and documenting, training all create a consistent standard.

    Quality control check off lists are a good place to start with consistent training and huddles each week!
    Thank you, Debbie

    • Bill says:

      Debbie-
      Thank you for joining the conversation! You’re right, checklists can be a very useful way to guide conversation and generate ideas that might otherwise be overlooked. Great service happens on purpose!
      Best,
      Bill