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Training Series for Landscapers: How to Make Ordinary Landscapers Exceptional

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As a leader and business owner, do you ever find yourself in the situation where you are:

  • Frequently fixing what someone else on your team has done?
  • Constantly micro-managing out of fear of things not being done well or at all?
  • Nervous to check over the work your crew has done?

In order for you to run a successful business, you need your crews running at a sufficient baseline. And from there you want to identify the people you need to amplify to help increase the overall performance of your company. But this is never going to happen if your days are spent putting out fires. Sure, you could bring on middle-management to help address these issues for you, but that’s simply putting the problem on someone else’s plate.

Now imagine for a moment that your staff (not just management) were just as diligent as you when it came to completing their tasks. They would know what their goals are, and they’d hit them religiously, all without needing to be micromanaged. And imagine if they even identified opportunities to go above and beyond to make your customers feel special, opening up new opportunities for referrals, and even improving retention.

There’s no doubt that this type of behavior would have a significant positive impact on your business, as well as your own work/life balance; the trick is getting people to act in this manner on a consistent basis. That’s where Breakthrough Academy (BTA) shines. They provide landscapers with proven solutions, as well as the clarity, community, and accountability to build resilient businesses. And today, they’ve shared with us one strategy you can implement immediately (yes, even during your busiest time of year) to make your ordinary staff exceptional.

If you haven’t already, make sure you read the article we co-wrote last week on How to Train Landscapers During the Busiest Time of Year, which provides 3 solid tips for building the foundation of your training program. You also want to make sure you read through to the end of this article because we’re going to give you all access to free resources and tools to accelerate your training program, as well as a FREE 1-on-1 Strategy Session with BTA to get you the clarity and direction you need to address whatever challenges you’re currently facing in your company.

1 Tip to Quickly Turn Your Staff Into High Performers

We’re working with the assumption that time has come and gone for you to really be able to prioritize training. The season is already well underway, so you might be feeling like you’ve missed the train for planning a systematic training day. And we agree – that deserves some focus during the winter in preparation for Spring 2021. For now, we want to add a layer to the “quick wins” that you can have in your company, with your staff, right now. And that quick win is called, “DORAGI.”

A BTA Member doing a jobsite review with his Foreman.

A BTA Member doing a jobsite review with his Foreman.


DORAGI! It’s a nonsense acronym, but one that has served BTA well as a simple construct to teach someone a new skill, or to make someone exceptional at something they’re already doing. Telling someone how to do something rarely translates into a consistent and repeatable execution of the skill. And simply showing someone how to do something, then leaving them to perform the task, leaves much to chance.

Most people learn through a blend of learning styles: active experimentation, concrete experience, abstract conceptualization, and reflective observation. The magic of “DORAGI” is that it combines all of these learning preferences into a simple-to-execute ritual. It gives you the chance to get shoulder-to-shoulder with your people and lead by example, which empowers your team to take ownership of executing tasks exceptionally well; even those that aren’t easily transferable.

Breakthrough Academy training process

The DORAGI process from a Training Resource Manual that BTA uses with its own members.

Let’s look at this through an example that might be relevant to you with a foreman and/or crew member that you want to bring up to the next level in your company.

Here is a scenario: you’ve got crews who are missing opportunities to do more for your customers to leave them thrilled with the service.

Maybe you’re also seeing a disparity between crews: Crew A has brought forth 20 new jobsite opportunities + received 7 customer recommendations, Crew B has submitted 0 jobsite opportunities + received 2 customer complaints.

You need all of your staff covering the scope of work that they’re responsible for (this is called, “baseline”) and then finding opportunities for further customer retention and referrals (this is called, “amplify”). And as an owner, you understand best the opportunities you have to do more for a customer.

Here is an example: you notice a bare patch in the lawn, you leave a flag with some seed and upload the details back to your CRM so that your office manager can mention it in the customer check-in:

“Hi, I just wanted to make you aware that we noticed a bare patch on your lawn. We flagged it and put a little extra seed on free of charge.”

Now, think about a crew member with some great potential who could be bringing these same opportunities to your clients with some clear direction and skill transfer through “DORAGI.”

Demonstrate – Do a job site check with your crew member, taking the lead on how you would assess the front lawn for missed opportunities. Talk through this with your crew member; potentially reference a checklist.

Observe – Now, have your crew member emulate what you just did in the backyard, talking you through their own assessment of missed opportunities.

Re-demonstrate – Still on the back yard, validate what your crew member just did well, and offer some tweaks to really nail the inspection.

Assign a Task – “Tomorrow, I want you to conduct a ‘missed opportunities’ inventory on each job site you’re at. Some areas to be mindful of are: mulch refresh, bare spots, dips in the lawn, rock bed replenish.”

Goal Set – “This week, I’d like you to identify 3 new opportunities on the job sites you’re assigned that we could relay to the customer.”

Inspect – Circle back with this employee to validate that they’ve completed the assigned task and have hit their goals as expected.

Think through this concept in an area of your landscaping business that could elevate your staff to perform at a higher level. Super simple tasks are great for this:

  • Edging
  • Line trimming
  • Installing patio pavers

Rapid circling through DORAGI on very simple tasks is a great way to get your bearings as an owner while increasing the skill level of our employees; it’s also a great way to help someone with their golf swing!

Let BTA Help Streamline Your Staff Productivity Through Summer Production

To get your people to become exceptional at doing what is expected of them, you need to ensure that they know the fundamentals and a bit of the bigger picture. This gives them the necessary baseline to perform and drive toward the shared vision. This type of stuff helps mold top performers, helps with team retention, and increases both customer referral and retention. Overall, it really does impact all people working in and with your company. Not to mention, especially your own work/life balance. So it’s super important you get it done right!

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of implementing what we’ve shared, or if you simply want to dive deeper into this conversation, we invite you to join us here at LMN along with BTA as we host a webinar on How to Increase Staff Productivity Through Summer Production. Benji Carlson will walk you through BTA’s tried-and-true goal setting and review process for landscapers. You’ll also get access to the free templates and frameworks BTA uses with their own members, so you can begin increasing productivity immediately without having to build your own system first.

Get Access to a 1-on-1 Strategy Session for Free

And for the first time ever, BTA is also giving away a limited number of free 1-on-1 Strategy Sessions to business owners that attend the webinar. You share your biggest pain points with them and they’ll give you a clear direction on what and when to implement into your business to overcome those.

Make sure you register for the webinar below to get access to the training, tools, resources, and personalized strategy session.


Increasing Staff Productivity Through Summer Production

Benji Carlson, Assessment Specialist from Breakthrough Academy

June 11, 2020 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

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