Landscapers: Take Back Your Weekends with D.A.D
(5 Delegation Best Practices)
Too many landscape business owners believe that they need to work longer and harder in order to get ahead. If you’re sacrificing sleep, missing too many of your daughter’s baseball games or can’t remember your last day off, it’s time to implement the D.A.D principle: ‘Delegate and Disappear’. In this article, we’ll share five delegation best practices from leading landscape business consultant Jacki Hart that will help you avoid burnout, empower your people and take back your weekends.
Delegation is a hard skill to master but the short term pain is much better than the alternative; burnout. A recent Gallup study identifies job burnout as a huge issue, costing an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending. As the owner of your business, you simply can’t afford to ‘do it all’ and put your health at risk. It’s time you learned to let go.
Best Practice #1: Focus on the progress, not the process
“But nobody can do it like I can.”
It’s tough to watch someone else do it wrong (read: not the way you do it). You’ve finally made the decision to trust a reliable crew member with creating estimates. You’ve brought them along to customer meetings and have trained them on your process. Hopefully, you’re also using estimating software that makes it easy for anyone to create profitable estimates using a repeatable system.
Avoid the temptation to interfere with your employee’s process, especially when they’re making progress. Instead, trust them enough to disappear.
Best Practice #2: Share all the information
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” James Humes
Without providing the proper information, you’re setting employees up for failure. When handing off any task for the first time, make sure to outline steps in detail and provide access to all required resources. If you’re training a new foreman on keeping track of crew time, for example, be sure he knows which tools to use (paper timesheets, mobile app, timer, etc.), when he’s expected to log hours (daily vs. weekly) and what rules he’s expected to enforce, re: time off, breaks, etc.
Be sure to check in regularly on progress and ask for feedback on the process. Setting clear expectations and fostering open communication will increase productivity and the likelihood for success.
Best Practice #3: Embrace enthusiasm
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you’re working 10 hours a day or more, you’re too busy to notice (or look for) employees who are eager to help. Every company has a mix of crew who leave as soon as their shift ends and those who want to stay a little longer to get a job done properly and impress the boss. Make it a point to spend time on site that’s dedicated to discovering your next rockstars.
If you’re nervous about delegating a task, you’ll feel better knowing you have a pool of ready, willing and enthusiastic workers to draw from.
Best Practice #4: Allow them to experiment
“My best successes came on the heels of failures.” Barbara Corcoran
You’ve put policies and procedures in place for a reason so it can be frustrating when employees find ways around them, sometimes making mistakes in the process. That said, innovation comes from challenging the status quo. So long as safety rules are maintained, allow your employees to experiment with new approaches and the latest technology.
Your best people may find new, more efficient ways to complete a task, if given the chance. And you’ll create a culture that celebrates fresh thinking.
Best Practice #5: Remember to let go
“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.” Richard Branson
When you’re used to doing it all, it’s tough to hand over responsibility. Micromanagement has a devastating effect on employee morale, productivity and health—eventually causing your best people to leave. Whether it’s a matter of control, trust or change issues, you need to learn to delegate tasks and responsibilities if you want to grow a profitable business.
If it’s not in your DNA, you’ll simply have to master this skill. Take a management course, attend the “Delegate It! How the Best Landscapers Learn to Let Go” webinar, get advice from your business mentor or invest some time researching online.
Here are a few bonus tips will make it even easier to delegate
- Get organized: From decluttering your landscape business to ensuring crews have the proper equipment and resources, every aspect of your business should be organized for success so managers can lead by example.
- Set measurable goals: From design/build projects to lawn maintenance contracts, your leaders should understand the desired outcome of every project and understand how they’ll be evaluated.
- Develop a hiring plan: Good people are definitely much harder to find these days so it’s more important than ever to stick to a hiring plan. From job descriptions to interview questions, you’ll need a process to attract and keep the best people that align with your core values.
It’s not uncommon to see landscape business owners wearing every possible hat in their business in a misguided attempt to save money. In reality, their inability to ‘delegate and disappear’ is costing them money, time and profit. But even worse, they’re sacrificing much-needed time away, moments with their families and their mental and physical health.
If you know it’s time to take your weekends back with the D.A.D principle, register for the upcoming webinar, “Delegate It! How the Best Landscapers Learn to Let Go” with host Jacki Hart on Tuesday, June 18th at 1pm. One of the landscape industry’s premier business coaches and speakers, Jacki will outline the 7 key steps to help you delegate effectively and provide even more valuable content you won’t want to miss.
Wishing you all the best as you build a better landscape business,
Mark Bradley is the CEO of LMN. Dedicated to transforming talented landscapers into profitable business owners, LMN provides the industry’s top business management software and training. To learn more about building a better landscape business, FREE, visit www.golmn.com. Interested in attending an LMN snow workshop? Visit https://golmn.com/snow-workshops/ to register for a workshop near you.