Profit Power: Cast a vision for your company

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Have you shared a vision that is so compelling that your team jumps out of bed every morning and runs in to work?

Do you even know what a good vision looks like?

Last week I was Zooming with a coaching client, the owner of a second-generation full service landscape firm in Northern California. Even though they are not the founders, they have attracted some very big name clients and have truly made their mark.

The owner had a vision inside of herself for what this company should become, but she struggled to articulate it out loud.

I urged her to take the time to write down her vision for the future, and then share it with her team in their upcoming quarterly strategic planning. I suggested she kick off the meeting with her vision, because her team is starving to hear what’s in her heart and soul.

Even if you are the original founder, pay heed, because this lack of communication and cloudy vision is a recurring challenge that everyone must overcome. Too many owners are coasting on the old vision of ‘what got them here.’ You won’t continue to flourish doing that.

What questions does your vision answer?

A vision tells you where you are going and ideally what the company will look like when you arrive.

Think about Moses leading the Israelites through the desert. To keep them on track, he told them over and over about the glorious land of milk and honey, and what life could look like when they arrived. This kept them moving forward through the extreme desert climate. (I once rode a bus all day through the mountainous Sinai desert, it is NOT a place you want to get lost in even for a day, but it was all they knew.)

Here is my (partial) list of key questions your vision should answer.

TIMEFRAME – Choose a time frame. How far out is your vision? Some have big hairy audacious visions that go 10 years out. All teams need a shorter term vision, like ‘Where will we be in 3 years?'”

CLIENT – What type of client do we want to focus on? And if we are only in residential, what sub type do we want to focus on (just like commercial has its own sub types) What type of quality do we want to be known for? (I urged my client to define her residential and commercial clients with the same level of quality. If they wanted two different levels, it would be much harder to build up a culture around that.)

A vision can have negative goals too. What types of clients will we stop working for?

SIZE – How big do we want to be? What size jobs will we sell? How many branches will we have if applicable? How large will each division grow in terms of dollars and people, and does it all make sense as a whole?

GEOGRAPHY – What areas do we want to focus on today? Will this change in 3 years (or however many years in the future)?

SPEED – What response times do we want to be known for? (In initial lead contact, in turn around from lead to sale, in customer complaint, in workmanship issues, in warranty, etc.)

ENHANCEMENT – What percent of enhancement do we want to be selling to our clients? (I urged my client to set a vision goal of 50 percent, and for high end properties you can actually set a goal of 100-150 percent if you include larger scale enhancement sales, i.e. design/build)

ORGANIZATION – What key roles will need to be filled in the next three years? Can you lay it out in an org chart? (Don’t worry, if you change it in two years, that’s OK.)

WIIFTE – What’s in it for the employees if we reach these goals? What can we do to make our employee retention stickier and make the company an even better place to work?

Your Challenge:

Step out of the reactive mode you have been in this year (in California, they have been in nonstop survival mode), and take quiet time to write down your vision for at least three years out, if not five or 10. It’s this “hope and dream” that feeds your people’s minds and hearts. Your vision will literally lift up their heads.

The challenge is to make your vision specific enough, but leave plenty of areas for your team to take ownership and fill it in with their own ideas and how-to’s.

Teddy Russell, CEO of the Russell Landscape Group, says to write down your vision as the first step to making it real. Teddy’s vision is “$100 Million.”

When I decided to move to New Orleans, my wife and I were at a wine patio and committed our dream to a paper napkin. “Move to NOLA within 12 months.” We found our home the very next week and moved within two months.

Writing it down works. What is your vision?

After you cast your vision and lay it out with your team, you must then recast it over and over again, like Moses did. This will keep your people’s heads up and their eyes bright.

I invite you to reach out to me to discuss your vision if you need help with this process. Now is the time to be thinking of this. Bring clarity and excitement to your team, and do it now as you enter winter planning months.

Jeffrey Scott

Jeffrey Scott

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

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