Managing Fast-Paced Teams

Managing Fast-Paced Teams

The heat of the summer is setting in (at least it is here in southern Ontario, Canada) and landscape crews are running flat out to get all of their work done on time and on budget (well, to the best of their ability anyway). When your teams are pushed to their max and they’re putting their top level effort into it, how do you keep them motivated to maintain the pace?

There’s a lot of season left and maintaining a high pace is hard. It’s hard for everyone. There are a lot of ways to keep your teams engaged, but they all boil down to three fundamentals:

Capability

Making sure you have the right people on your team can be a challenge. So, start at the beginning when you’re bringing new people into the team. Begin with the end in mind and identify who the ideal person would be and what set of skills you would like them to have to be at their peak level. But what about the people already on your team? Do you have a culture of personal and professional development? Rewarding your top people is key, but paying the right amount of attention to those that are struggling with performance will pay off. If it’s a matter of capability, it could entirely be because they just haven’t received the right training. Investing in your people is a win-win-win. It’s a win for them as they are evolving in their job/career path, it’s a win for you because they become better at what they do, and it’s a win for your client because the quality of their work will increase.

Internal & External Motivation

There are many internal and external factors that affect a team member’s motivation. I think we can all agree a good starting point here is to treat others the way you want to be treated. Get to know the people that are on your team rather than paint everyone with the same brush. Knowing what drives the individuals on your team can offer insight to what will motivate them to step outside of their comfort zone and take their performance to the next level.

Internal motivation is all about striving towards a goal for personal satisfaction or accomplishment. To engage and enhance someone’s internal motivation, focus on challenging them, peak their curiosity, create friendly and positive competition, and recognize their accomplishments.

External motivation refers to behavior driven by rewards like money, fame, grades, and praise from someone in a leadership position. Think of these as tangible motivation factors. These can be used to motivate team members to upgrade or acquire new skills. External motivation factors can also be used to be a source of feedback for the team, reinforcing desired performance outcomes.

Clear Understanding of Expectations

Setting expectations with your team is a key step to developing a productive working relationship between you (the leader) and your team. Some expectations that might seem fundamental to you may not be so much to your team, so make sure you discuss and document your expectations. Make sure everyone knows how communication should occur and when, working hours, production goals, operational styles, meeting frequencies, and career goals. It’s always easier (as a leader) to provide feedback (both positive and negative) when there are clearly identified expectations that have been shared with the entire team.

New Manage360 Feature! Bulk Plant Matching


On the Plants Costbook page, there is now an option to filter plants that are unmatched to the Online Plants Database. In the filter dropdown, check off ‘Show only Unmatched’ and click ‘Apply Filter’.

A new column has been added to the Plants Costbook page, indicating whether a plant has been matched to an entry in the Online Plants Database. The OPD column shows a broken link for unmatched plants, and a link for matched plants.

On the Plants Costbook page, you can now link individual plants to a Online Plants Database entry by clicking on the new link icon in the OPD column. This opens the Match Plant popup from the Plant Culture tab.

The Match Plant popup, available on the Plant Culture tab and the Plants Costbook page now displays the botanical name of the plant in the header.

On the Plants Costbook page, there is now an option to match plants to the Online Plants Database automatically in bulk. After selecting a number of plants, click the ‘Match to OPD’ option under ‘Common Actions’. This opens a new popup with a couple options. The ‘Include Proven Winners’ checkbox allows the inclusion/exclusion of Proven Winners plants from the matching. The ‘Previously Matched’ dropdown selects how to handle plants already matched to a OPD entry. After running the match, an alert will display how many entries were successfully matched automatically.

Five Ways to Manage Your Time

Five Ways to Manage Your Time

Feeling overwhelmed as Spring comes in like a lion?

It’s that time of year in most parts of the country where Spring has sprung and operations are either ramping up or full on into the craziness. Managing your time is the one thing that will help you keep some of that sanity through the next 90 (or so) days. We have some tips on how to make sure you’re spending your time in the most effective way possible.

During a period of increased demand for your time from others it’s often difficult to focus on your own work. This is where it is more important than ever to protect your time, your schedule with everything you have. We get pretty upset when people take things from us, right? How come it’s okay for people to take our time? It’s not okay, it’s not right for others to come in and demand your instant attention.

Here are some ways to help you manage the most precious asset you could ever have, your time:

  1. Screen your phone calls – CallerID is pretty prevalent these days, right? Well, use it to your advantage. When you’re in focused work, make use of this valuable feature of your phone service. If you feel like you need to answer every call, it’s also okay to say that you need to call them back.
  2. Block out your important time – make active use of your calendar here. Whether you use Google Calendar, Outlook, or whatever other tool you might use definitely spend some time at the beginning of your week to plan out your days. Earmark time for the important things you need to do and make it known that you’re not available during that time.
  3. Set expectations with those around you – make sure that your staff are ultra sensitive to the fact that your time is important by letting them know when you are and are not available. Over time, you’ll train your staff to know when is appropriate to ask for your time.
  4. Practice what you preach – if you’re asking others to respect your time, you should reciprocate. By showing others respect for their time, they will inevitably respect yours.
  5. Have the right meetings at the right time – how many times do you find yourself in a meeting that takes 4x as long as it should or you’re in a meeting that could have been done by phone or answered through an email (or text). Have regular meetings with your core team to make sure everyone is on the same page, everyone has an opportunity to raise any red flags, and to provide clear instruction and direction.

The important thing here out of all of this is to make sure you have the tools you need to help manage your time. DynaSCAPE is the landscape business software solution of choice for hundreds of landscape professionals in North America offering incredible efficiencies through automation of tedious tasks. Check out DynaSCAPE Manage360 for your landscape business operating system!

Implementing Landscape Software

Implementing Landscape Software

What does it take to implement Landscape Design or Landscape Business Systems in the “Off” Season?

by Joe Salemi, Product Marketing Manager, DynaSCAPE Software

Well, let me start off by saying in my 15+ years in this business I have yet to experience an offseason. It’s more transitioning from one season to the next. Debriefing on our performance of the last one and planning for the next. Where does this leave you if you want to implement a software system that will inherently improve the way you do business? Well, let’s just say it’s going to add a layer of complexity to your planning for the upcoming season. It involves a predefined strategy and set of tactics that will ensure success.

Implementing Landscape Design Software

One of the questions I most often get about our landscape design software, DS|Design, is “what’s the learning curve?”. While the answer is hugely subjective, it does really depend on you. If you’re finally making the transition away from hand-drawing then I’d advise you earmark the better part of 4-6 weeks reviewing videos, signing up for online training, and studying the resources we have available. This will get you to the point of understanding the fundamentals, having good proficiency with the tool sets and enough practice under your belt that you’ll have confidence to start cranking out design projects with pride.

Start by reviewing our training videos. These will get you going very quickly. There’s approx. 4hrs worth of videos with each one being 4-5 minutes in length. Very bite size. We also have a quick start guide. Definitely use this, it’ll help orient you to the application. But what it really comes down to is your commitment to learning how the software works. If you commit the time it will absolutely come back to you in spades.

Implementing a landscape business operating system

This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your landscape business. What software solution will you place your trust in to help you manage the day-to-day operations is a complex decision. A decision that you shouldn’t take very lightly. Here’s a few tips for engaging in some due diligence:

  1. Create a list of functions that are absolute deal breakers for you if the software you’re looking at doesn’t have them.
  2. Take stock of what you like and dislike about your current workflows. See how the prospective new software will help improve what you’re doing now.
  3. Make sure everyone who needs to be part of the process is involved. The owner(s), managers, supervisors, office staff buy-in is critical to this process.
  4. Don’t just learn about the functionality of the prospective software, find out about how the software company approaches implementation and training. Understand how you will be supported following the implementation.
  5. Get referrals from the prospective software company. A good referral isn’t just a lot of praise, it’s getting real about the highlights and the lowlights of the software and the software company.

Once you’ve made your decision, act fast. It’s better to just rip the band-aid clean off then letting the decision weigh on you for weeks or months. Here are a few tips to help make sure your implementation is successful:

  1. Have the right people in the room for the appropriate training sessions. Appoint a point person.
  2. Start gathering data (financials, overhead line items, sales projections, workflows, production rates, material lists, plant lists, labor rates, equipment costs…etc).
  3. Think about any customizations that you would like that would be specific to you.
  4. Work with your implementation and training specialist to set out a realistic schedule helping you get your new system setup
  5. Regular communication and feedback between your team and the implementation and training specialist. Involve a product manager or account manager when needed.
  6. Keep an open mind through the process.
  7. Stay connected to the software company, make sure everyone on your team is getting release notes and other important information about the new system you have in place.

We truly live and breathe this stuff everyday. We love it when you are in the process of doing your due diligence. Not every system out there is right for everyone. Do what you can now to do make sure you have checked off every box on your list. You’re investing in operating system for your landscape business. We want to make sure you’re investing with us, check out DynaSCAPE Manage360!

Strategic Financial Leadership Webinar Series

Strategic Financial Leadership Webinar Series

Our host, Steve Coughran from the Coltivar Group, offers some interesting insight into what you’ll get from this incredible FREE 3-part webinar series!

In this collaboration between DynaSCAPE Software and the Coltivar Group, we will unpack some timely and very relevant topics through this completely free webinar series. Landscape industry consultant and financial expert, Steve Coughran, and Joe Salemi, DynaSCAPE’s Product Marketing Manager will bring some of the most pertinent business information to you. It’s our way of bringing you the best in landscape business information.

STRATEGIC FINANCIAL LEADERSHIP WEBINAR SERIES is approved for Landscape Industry Certified recertification at 1 CEU per hour of instruction attended. For more information on the National Association of Landscape Professionals recertification, please visit the NALP Recertification Center at landscapeprofessionals.org.

Part 1: Emerging Technologies in the Landscape Industry

What you need to know to thrive!

September 7, 2017 | 1:30 PM EST

The landscape industry is struggling with labor shortages, rising costs, increased competition, and changing customer preferences.  However, companies are trying to solve new problems with old strategies.  Learn how selecting a strong strategy and incorporating the right technology can improve productivity, employee retention, cash flow, and overall customer experience.

Part 2: Financial Principles Landscape Companies Must Know to Boost Cash Flow

September 14, 2017 | 1:30 PM EST

70 percent of companies that go bankrupt are profitable when they close their doors. Surprised?? This is due to the fact that companies neglect key financial principles such as forecasting, pricing, cash flow management, and financial statement analysis.  In this webinar, we will discuss the 4 levers that help boost profitability, cash flow management, building a financial dashboard, and the 3 financial statements you must review.

Part 3: Strategies to Survive the Cyclical Nature of the Landscape Industry

September 21, 2017 | 1:30 PM EST

The landscape industry can be wildly unpredictable and cyclical in nature. This webinar will discuss methods for evaluating the economic market, customer preferences, and cash flow requirements for off-season operations.  We will also examine how companies can improve their competitive advantage through a more lean, agile operating model commingled with the right technology.

About our host

Steve Coughran

Steve Coughran

Founding Director, Coltivar Group

Steve Coughran is Founder and Director of Strategy at the Coltivar Group, a keynote speaker for national associations and universities, and author of Delivering Value. In his position at Coltivar Group, Steve helps clients on a broad range of issues including strategy, organizational structure, financial management, and operational effectiveness.

At the University of Denver, Steve teaches a course entitled “Strategic Financial Leadership” which combines his research and real world consulting experience to create an effective learning environment for students.

As an entrepreneur, Steve has launched award-winning firms in the construction industry. He remains active in the community and has served on the Associate Council of the AGC, State Board of Directors for the green industry, as an active member of CAMPC, and as a leader in Impact Denver.  He applies his industry experience and financial acumen gained from working with million and billion dollar firms at Ernst & Young to help companies capitalize on their strengths and create superior value by performing activities in a unique way.

Steve is a CPA and earned his M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University where he studied abroad in China, Chile, India, and Germany. Steve graduated with his M.S. in accountancy from the University of Denver. He advanced his specialization in strategy through study at the Executive Education Program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Areas of expertise:

  • Innovative strategy design and implementation
  • Strategic financial leadership
  • Financial management and business valuation
  • Customer experience strategy
  • Pricing and estimating strategies
  • Competing on business analytics

Thank you to our promotional partners!