Moving mountains: Start with a stump speech

April 1, 2015 -  By

If you’re like many leaders, you’re ready to be the visionary for your company, but you may not be sure how to do it. The good news is there are dozens of ways to do this. The simplest and possibly most effective way is by developing and giving a stump speech to the whole company. Here’s what it should include:

1. Where you’re going, in broad strokes.
Talk about the “why” while referencing your company values and emphasizing the kind of future you envision the team building over the next few years. For instance: “Our goals are to keep our clients consistently happy, to respect each other, to respect our equipment and tools and to make sure we’re always working in a safe environment. We never compromise safety. And as a company we must hit our budgets, so the company can continue to grow and we can all continue to prosper. Within two years we will double our service base and shift our client profile from townhouses to commercial sites. We will expand our facilities so we have a new building with twice the square footage, and we have the space to do really great work together.”

2. The historical perspective.
Remind people where you’ve come from and how much progress you’ve made. For instance: “Two years ago we had X number of employees, we were at Y revenue and we were operating at Z% efficiency. … Now we have …”

3. Celebrate the progress.
Discuss a recent victory or set of victories. Pick a specific event from the past week that makes the point of your progress. Teach by highlighting the positives. Praise in public. Save corrections for private conversations.

4. Set the priorities.
Say something like, “In order to stay on track, we need to do A and B over the next week (or two, or month or quarter).” Make it clear exactly what you want to see more of, and during what time period you need to see it.

5. Ask for volunteers.
At certain times you’ll need volunteers to help support certain priorities. Say: “To achieve our goals, we need help with X. Who’s willing to take that on or help out?” Wait for someone to raise a hand. Often, the “volunteer” is agreeing to do something for which he or she’s already has responsibility.

Help volunteers set a 5 Ws action plan:
1. What are they going to do?
2. When are they going to do it?
3. Where are they going to do it?
4. Why are they going to do it (the benefits)?
5. Whose help and support do they need?

Praise the person for volunteering, and remind the group why such-and-such is important. Guide the discussion that follows. Remember, it’s important to make the why bigger than the how. Once you make the why compelling, your employees will be motivated to help you figure out “how to.”

Click here to read the first part of this article, “Moving mountains: A compelling company vision.”

Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit

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