LM150: Coaching team leaders

June 9, 2016 -  By

Yard-Nique’s exec believes everyone needs to be on the same page for a growing company to thrive. That’s why he brought a yearlong executive coaching program to his managers—and he’s pleased with the results.

Tell us about your company’s executive coaching program.
At the end of 2014, I got introduced to (management consulting firm) Dorrier Underwood. I work with an executive coach. She introduced me to a three-day program called the Mastery Program on Leadership. When I was done, I had the idea of taking it and translating it into the entire Yard-Nique organization. So, I engaged Dorrier Underwood to coach a team of about 17 employees for a year.

We worked on our core values, our vision statement, our mission statement and engaging employees. We have 450ish employees peak season, so how do we get the message from the top level, all the way down to the on-the-ground guy?

What was your goal initially?
Well, I think when you continue to grow, you have to make sure you have everybody on board because growth is really not for everybody. We’ve continued to grow at a very rapid pace for 19 years. And for me, as we continue to grow, I wanted to make sure that everybody was in line with what we were doing. Sometimes we have to back up and hit the reset button.

For me, it was more of a realignment with all of the growth that we’ve had, making sure that everybody had a clear expectation of where we were going.

What was your team’s reaction?
It’s an interesting concept when you really get down to it. We had some area managers, who are boots-on-the-ground managers. It was interesting to see some of their faces when we talked about leadership and executive-style coaching, etc.

But they bought in. And we had some long, drawn out, tough conversations. And when we were in that meeting it wasn’t like I was the president and CEO, and John was the director of installation. We didn’t have titles in that room, and everybody was speaking openly and freely.

The key was we started holding each other accountable.

Give us an example of “a tough conversation.”
Going on the word “accountability,” prior to getting engaged in this, things would happen that would go under the rug or wouldn’t be talked about or deadlines would be set but never met. What we started doing was really being clear and precise in what we are looking for across the organization.

So, if I asked someone for something, I would say, “Hey, do you think you could have that by 5:00 on Friday?” If he was not able to meet that, we would talk about when we could have it. It’s really just kind of being in alignment, and I think at times, prior to the coaching, we weren’t really in alignment. A lot of us were working in different directions.

Was it a one-year program or will you continue it?
It was a one-year thing for 2015. In 2016, I’m still being coached, and our human resource director is working with me along with the executive coach. And this year we’re using our own internal human resource team to develop the programs.

Do you recommend executive coaching to your peers?
Definitely. It’s an interesting concept because it takes away the whole landscape perspective of it. In our industry, you have these founders of landscape companies that are true entrepreneurs. The biggest thing is being able to take a step back and know that, yes, you might have started the company, but it’s not all about you, and executive coaching kind of helps you at the different levels that you achieve. Sometimes, they are conversations you don’t want to hear, but I recommend it.


LM0616_dumont_brian-155R_OUTLINERBrian DuMont

President/CEO
Yard-Nique, Morrisville, N.C.

No. 62

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About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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