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Profit Power: 7 responsibilities of a GM

August 22, 2018 -  By


Last winter, I held a full day seminar on the topic of the CEO/COO partnership, with Frank Mariani, owner of Mariani Landscape, and his COO Fred Wacker. It also featured Paul Fraynd, CEO of Sun Valley Landscaping and his GM Ashly Neneman.

The role of the COO and the GM are similar, depending on the size of the company. We explored the role of the GM from the large company angle, and from the medium and smaller company angles as well. Ashly and I will explore the topic further next month on a free webinar on Sept. 18.

The job of the GM constitutes these seven critical roles. Smaller companies may give their GM more operational responsibilities, trading off some of these higher level tasks, but it’s best you understand the full potential of this role, so you can aim high and expand the role as your company grows.

  • Issues and priorities—being an internal consultant, figuring out what to work on next to build the company.
  • Alignment—ensuring vision, values, goals and compensation are aligned.
  • Trains and budgets—making sure the trains run on time and that operations are tied into an accurate budget.
  • Talent trainer—every leader in your firm has this role, but ultimately the GM needs to make sure the bench is being filled.
  • Continuous improvement—while everyone has this role, too, the GM needs to pursue continuous improvement at the highest level. Whatever the GM touches should improve.
  • Fill the gaps—when high level positions are temporarily open, the GM steps in.
  • Strategic planning—ensuring the plan is refreshed each year, bought into by the team and is executed in the company’s day-to-day activities. A caveat, this may be the CEO’s role, so it depends company to company.

Join us in September to learn more about the role of the GM, and how you can apply it to your company situation.

For another great story on the power of a general manager, see the August cover story of LM, featuring Drost Landscape.

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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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