A Fresh Set of Eyes
Steven Cesare, Ph.D.
A talented business owner from Colorado called me the other day with exciting news that he finally hired a long sought-after Landscape Maintenance Manager. After an arduous five-month search, the business owner’s management team was finally complete! Eager to get off to an impressive start, the business owner and I discussed the content, importance, and outcomes inherent within a strong managerial onboarding program.
Consistent with tradition, managerial onboarding programs are classically segmented into 30, 60, and 90-day timeframes and shared with the incumbent at the time of hire. Though commonly known, I shared the following sample of standard onboarding expectations for a field management position:
- Learn all company goals, organizational culture components, and strategic KPIs.
- Meet all essential staff; schedule ongoing meetings accordingly.
- Study the organizational chart, each team’s responsibilities, and their performance expectations.
- Review the Company account map to review current job location geography.
- Begin visiting 10 active properties each week and evaluate job quality level.
- Fully understand the safety program and attend all weekly tailgate talks.
- Understand how gross margin is calculated and how to raise it to desirable levels.
- Has identified low gross margin jobs and has developed a plan achieve gross margin goals.
- Review target market, sales matrix, estimating process, and marketing materials.
- Understand the details related to: Labor Tracking, CRM, Revenue Per Man, SOPs, Work Orders.
- Complete informal development performance appraisal review of all Foremen.
- Prepare materials for attending monthly field operations financial review meeting.
- Develop action plans for each job to ensure contract retention; track progress each month.
- Partner with Sales Team to prepare cost estimates, budgets, and timetables for new job site bids.
- Revise Job Folders: Client Profiles, Financial Specifications, Labor hours, Rotation Maps, etc.
Beyond that reflexive litany of activities, I suggested the owner leverage the new Landscape Maintenance Manager’s “fresh set of eyes” by requiring him to submit a Top 10 List of current problems, proposed solutions, and anticipated results to the business owner at the end of each monthly period. To that point, the capstone of the on-boarding program is the business owner conducting a Performance Review of the new Manager at the end of the three months.
New to the organization, the Manager should be free to make novel, politically-incorrect, and ambitious observations to the owner with complete professional license. Thus, a capitalistic on-boarding program must hold the new Manager accountable for reviewing, revising, and recommending unique value-added ideas capable of taking the company to the next level. Much of that value orientation must be coached throughout the on-boarding program.
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