Turning your year around

July 23, 2019 -  By
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Calendar pages - Photo: iStock.com/MicroStockHub

Photo: iStock.com/MicroStockHub

Well, my friends, we’re at the halfway point of the year. The pessimist says the year is already half-over and it’s too late to turn it around; the optimist says the year is only half-started and there’s plenty of time yet to come out on top.

It’s probably no surprise to learn that I’m the latter. In 35 years of running my own landscaping business, I can’t tell you how many times my spring hasn’t gone well and I’ve found myself scrambling for a way to make up for lost ground. And you know what? Nearly every time I have.

So, if you find yourself not where you had planned to be right now, don’t lose hope. Instead, focus on what you can do to turn your year around — because, believe me, you can. There are three key areas you need to focus on:

Your people: Take a good look back at your spring and consider who has exceeded your expectations. Draw up a list, even if it’s short. What are you doing to recognize these reliable deliverers? Raises are great, but companies who (wisely) focus on the long run know that the best way to administer those is through a formal review system that makes crystal clear to all what they need to do to advance. At the same time, people who are good at their jobs are almost always eager to move up. Don’t make your promotion process so long or onerous that you risk losing key players to your competition.

Just as important, look now for other ways you can show you appreciate your star performers. Send a handwritten note to their home citing specific instances of when they’ve stood out. Include a gift certificate for lunch or dinner out. Shine a spotlight on their efforts at your next team meeting. Run a post about their work on your company’s Facebook page. Highlighting the behaviors you’d like to see more of has a way of inspiring others to raise their bar too. Labor remains the greatest challenge facing our industry; if you have a good team member, invest now in keeping him or her.

Your processes: Processes enable ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary feats. The more you standardize yours, the more the work becomes a habit — and habits enable people to do the right things naturally. If quality is an issue and you’re receiving complaints, document, step by step, how you approached these jobs. Doing this will help you identify where the gaps are. Use this real-world intel to change what you do going forward. Then put your processes in writing and share them with everyone who has a role. I think you’ll be surprised by how much better your team operates when responsibilities are clear and steps are clearly delineated.

Your profits: Profits are the life-blood of a company. If you aren’t seeing the level you planned for, retrace your steps. Are you underestimating the number of labor hours your jobs require? Are your prices too low? Are you not collecting what you’re owed? Are you wasting time and money on inefficient morning rollouts? Do you have unnecessary overhead? Be rigorous in your assessment and honest with yourself about what you need to do to right the ship. And then get at it now, while you still have time to come out on top this year!

Want to learn more about how to improve your people, processes and profits? Join Marty for the 2019 NALP Field Trip in San Diego, Aug. 6-7

Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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