All posts by Jeffrey Scott

employee thinking

Think Like An Owner

Wouldn’t it be great if your employees could read your mind and take initiative in the areas of the business that most need attention?

Many employees want to take more initiative, and earn promotions within your company, but they are unsure what to do.

Even if you have a career ladder, or path laid out for them, it can be unclear what traits and behaviors are most valued by you.

That’s why I wrote this article below, to help your team understand how they can play a bigger role inside your lawn or landscape business, and create their own opportunities for long term career success.

Pass this on to your employees.

HOW TO GET PROMOTED BY THINKING LIKE AN OWNER

It is not enough to wait for the boss to tell you what to do. He or she may not be good at communicating or delegating; or perhaps your supervisor thinks they already told you. If you want to grow your career, you have to think and act like an owner.

Ask yourself, “What would I do if this were my company? How would I help it grow?”

Here are some answers.

1. Bring in prospects (employees and clients)

The success of your company depends on its ability to attract new employees and clients; this is not just the role of recruiting or marketing. “Everyone in the company is in sales.”

Selling the business can start with passing out business cards, and extend to speaking to neighbors of clients, and employees of other companies that you meet on your day-to-day travels.

Plant seeds for the future.

Whomever you meet, collect and pass along the good contacts you make to your recruiting or sales team. Help the company grow, and you will too.

2. Find efficiencies and save the company money

For every dollar your company saves, it is between 10 and 20 times more valuable than making a dollar in new sales. Why is this? Because that dollar saved goes right to the bottom line. It is pure profit. And profit is good, because it is as important as blood and oxygen combined!  It fuels the health and growth of your company, your division and your own career.

Waste can be found everywhere in the company, here are a few areas to look:

  • Messy shop and unorganized trucks
  • Warranty
  • Material wastage
  • Call-backs from a client
  • Go-backs due to incomplete work
  • Unproductive yard time
  • Unbillable time
  • Unbilled extra work
  • Downtime due to equipment failure
  • Inaccurate or incomplete paperwork

Put on your “think like an owner” cap and find ways to help. If you are not sure where to start, ask your boss where he/she is trying to improve efficiencies. They will appreciate the fact that you care.

Increasing job efficiency can start by taking an extra walk around before you leave a client’s property. You can’t go wrong by raising your head and taking a bigger look at what is going on around you.

You will do better when you help your company do better.

3. Bring a “Yes Attitude” to work

You can single-handedly lift the attitude of your crew, department, and even company by having a consistent positive attitude.

“The attitude of few, influences the attitude of many.” 

Be optimistic no matter the challenge, even when others are negative. Lift other people’s outlook by keeping yours high. This includes saying “Yes” when a peer or supervisor asks you for help.

Just Say Yes, and find out how you can help. Positive attitudes are infectious – bring a Yes Attitude to work, and you will become instrumental in improving your company’s can-do spirit.

4. Generate referrals by hugging your customers

Your clients will refer you when they are wowed by your work and by the impression you leave with them each day when you come onto and leave their property.

Every customer interaction is an opportunity to make them happy they hired you. It starts with a genuine smile and a wave hello, and an extra touch like picking up their paper or garbage blowing around. It is further supported by a genuine question to see if there is anything else they need, and it ends with leaving a job site cleaner than you found it.

For those in the office, making your client feel “special” each time they call will go a long way. When you find out the client’s name, repeat it and give them a phone-hug, “Mr Smith, I am SO glad you called, how can I help you today?” Say this with enthusiasm, and you will be remembered and referred. I guarantee it!

5. Learn new, valuable skills

Would you like to increase your chances of earning a raise?

One thing you can do: learn new skills that your company needs in order to stay competitive. What skill would help you become more productive and help your company earn more profit or win more work? If you are not sure, ask your supervisor for suggestions. The more you learn and apply in a productive manner, the more you can earn. But don’t do it just for the money.

“Life is a journey, punctuated by learning new skills.”  

The more skills you master, the more you will feel motivated and satisfied by your work, and the more confident you will be. Do it for the internal satisfaction!

6. Raise the skills of those you supervise

The biggest headache facing companies and owners today is building the workforce. In order to grow, you must build a bench of skilled people. But who is teaching and raising up this bench?

If you supervise others, then you can be an instrumental teacher and mentor to your direct reports.

You may be wondering, “Isn’t it better that I keep my skills to myself, in order to protect my job?” or, “I can do this faster if I just do it myself.”

But that thinking backfires and holds back the company’s prosperity.

Think about it this way – in order for you to grow your career and make yourself more valuable, those underneath you must be able to step up into your shoes (and then someone has to step up into their shoes). How can you help make that happen?

7. Bring a higher standard to work

Owners appreciate employees who are focused and want to do things right.  But since no one is perfect, there is always room to improve. Where can you improve your focus and workmanship? Where do you spend excessive time, and what areas require more of your focus? Where are your clients not completely thrilled with your work?

Start with reflection:

  • On Friday think about one thing you could improve from the previous week, and commit to improving on it the following week.
  • Make notes at the end of each day on how you did to improve.
  • Keep a little black book of improvements!
  • Find one specific area each week to improve on.

By the end of a full year you will have improved in over 50 areas! Wow – that will have a huge impact with yourself, your peers and clients, and your company! Sweat the details, and your clients and boss will notice.

raod sign with many years on it from past decade

The Closing Of A Decade

When you read the newspapers, it is hard to tell what the truth is about the economy and the world.

Journalists on both sides shoot for the extremes in order to gain eyeballs; they earn their money by tapping into anxiety and negative feelings.

It’s confusing and does not add value to your decision-making. As a landscape entrepreneur or green-industry leader, you need real information in order to make solid investment plans.

With that in mind, I am sharing the following.

I read a lot of insights from other smart people, and I thought I would share with you observations from Chief Economist Brian Wesbury of First Trust. He is a “best of breed” financial manager (that I personally use.) His insights will give you a big picture perspective.

Insights on the economy over this past decade.

“What an incredible time to be alive! We stand just a few weeks from the end of a decade that saw prosperity spread far and wide. Some don’t see it that way, as negative journalists and fighting politics skew our visions. But, if you simply step back from the day-to-day noise and take in the magnitude of progress around us, there is a great deal to be thankful for.

For starters, the US macroeconomy – the big picture – is in solid shape. The unemployment rate is 3.6%, just a tic above September’s 3.5% reading – the lowest since 1969. What some people call the “true unemployment rate” (known to the Labor Department as the “U-6” rate), which includes discouraged workers and part-timers who say they want full-time work, currently stands at 7.0%, and recently touched lows not seen since the peak of the first internet boom nearly twenty years ago.

Average hourly earnings are up 3.0% from a year ago, compared to an increase in 1.8% in consumer prices. In fact, “real” (inflation-adjusted) earnings are likely to be up again for the year, making this the seventh consecutive year of higher real wages.

Importantly, the benefit of hourly earnings growth has been spreading out. In the past year, median usual weekly earnings for workers age 25+ with less than a high school diploma are up 9.0%. In the year before, these wages were up 6.5%. This is faster growth than for those with college and graduate school degrees. Making jobs plentiful is still the best way to raise living standards.

Meanwhile, US stock market have recently hit all-time highs, pushing IRAs, 401ks, pension funds, and retirement wealth higher. Both workers and investors have good reason to be grateful.

But it’s not only the big picture that looks good. The day-in, day-out lives of people the world over have improved because of the grit and determination of inventors and entrepreneurs.

A decade ago, how many of us had instantly ordered a car to pick us up via our phones (now more like pocket computers), and then watched its progress toward us in real time, not left to wonder when and if the car would ever show up? How many of us could optimize our travel routes with free apps that tell us the best time of day to take the route in question, or where to turn to cut travel time?

Think about the standardization of car and truck technology that used to be reserved for the upscale, like adaptive cruise control or blind-spot warnings, even self-parking cars. Backup cameras now come standard!

But it’s not just the day-to-day, innovation is also helping save lives in crisis situations. This includes the 3D printing of body parts…skin cells, lungs, and soon partial livers. Yes, livers! We are on the cutting edge of gene therapies that are being used to treat cancer. Cancer death rates have dropped consistently for decades, and new technology promises further improvement.

Think about the advances in energy production. The average price of a barrel of oil (West Texas Intermediate) was $78 in November 2009, a decade ago, and that was when the jobless rate was around 10% and the global economy in the doldrums. It’s now down to $58. Natural gas was trading around $3.70 per mmbtu, now $2.67. Lower prices are a direct result of the combination and widespread use of horizontal drilling and fracking. As a result, Americans can heat and cool their homes and businesses and travel for much less than they used to.

Put it all together and if we’re honest we have so much to be thankful for. There has quite simply never, in the history of mankind, been a better time to be alive. Our ancestors could find faults in some things in the world today, but they’d be left speechless at our abundant opportunity.”

Your Challenge:

The end of a decade is also the beginning of the next one. What does the next decade mean to you as a lawn, landscape or green-industry professional?

Who will you become in the next decade? How will your business change?

I encourage you ‘level up’ the community where you spend your time. Hang with people who both know how to live ’now’ to the fullest, and also have a vision for the ‘future.’

man kept awake at night

What Keeps You Awake At Night?

Do you ever have trouble sleeping because certain issues in your business are keeping you up at night?

Have you ever thought about getting up in the middle of the night to get it all done, because so much is landing on your plate?

It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs and business owners to spend time obsessing about their business.

Sometimes leaders and owners lose sleep because they are:

  • Focused on the wrong metrics or issues in their business, or they
  • Lack clarity in their organization, or they are
  • Not communicating their expectations, or they simply
  • Lack full trust in their team.

Whatever your reason…

Here is an easy solution:

In order to sleep better at night, you have to be able to work in your professional “sweet spot” (where you find joy in building your business), plus you have to hand off the other issues and responsibilities to your team.

And to do that, you have to over communicate what these issues are.

This example will explain what I mean:

A few weeks back Andy Tumolo, CEO of Maple Leaf Associates, and his team came down to my retreat center in New Orleans for a leadership reboot, to develop their go-faster strategy.

During the session, I went around the room and asked each leader what they thought kept Andy awake at night.

The team created a list of 7 critical issues.

Andy then shared what the true list was.

He only had 4 items, not 7. The team got three right, but missed one.

Andy then put his list in order of priority. Here they are.

  1. Client Satisfaction (because it’s how he built the company.)
  2. The Schedule (he does complex work which requires a very proactive approach)
  3. Cash flow (connected to the schedule and other issues we uncovered)
  4. People’s accountability in their roles (this drives everything)

This list may look familiar to you, though every owner has a unique situation and a unique list, and thus it requires a custom strategy to solve it.

For Andy’s team, we designed key scheduling protocol and key performance metrics, and a management system to proactively prevent these issues from falling back onto Andy’s plate.

Now Andy sleeps like a baby, and really enjoys working in his professional sweet spot, focused on growing the company and his team!

Image of a Jeffrey Andy and friends

Celebrating in my kitchen after the hard work was done.

Your challenge: Be willing to communicate to your team what you think about (or worry about) on a recurring basis. Dig deep and share your inner needs with your team. Let them be responsible for your lullaby.

Young male constructor worker in orange hardhat thinking with one arm crossed and the other on his chin

Poach or Be Poached?

A recurring question that you face—and one that I am asked occasionally—is it okay to poach employees?

And/or what should I do when someone is poaching my employees?

First off, when someone offers one of your better employees $10k more and they leave, either they were unhappy with you, or you were underpaying them, or underutilizing them, or all three.

However, what if they leave for just a $2-4k raise? or for no raise at all?

That is why I believe this question, “Is it okay to poach?” is the wrong question to ask because it covers up (hides) the larger dynamic happening in the market place.

It’s a seller’s market.

Your company is either growing or shrinking when it comes to talent retention and acquisition.

The growing companies in your market are winning employee market share—and the shrinking companies are losing out on the best employees. And poaching has nothing to do with it.

By my definition, growth means growing in reputation, career opportunities, and client opportunities. These companies are becoming a true Destination Company®️.

Since I published my prescient book (Become A Destination Company®️) over three years ago, I have seen the competitive nature of attracting and hiring employees become even more acute.

The newer generations of good employees have even higher standards on what they want from an employer. It is a race to the top!

Your challenge: Build a company culture that promotes growth from the inside out. Where all the leaders at your company are focused on developing and retaining top talent.

Back to the question – Is poaching ethical? It is not professional when it involves you walking onto job sites. But your company should be so attractive that great employees want to walk across the street to work for you.

man look at himself in the mirror

Self Awareness is the Silver Bullet to Professional Growth

A few weeks back I gave a lecture to a packed room at the Green Industry Expo in Louisville on the topic of “Benchmarking for Profit”.

The audience learned my seven key performance indicators that you must benchmark (measure and manage) in order to improve your company’s performance.

Some of the benchmarks were as expected, such as labor, and some required outside-the-box thinking.

Then, I ended the talk with a big surprise…

I shared how you can benchmark your self-awareness (!), and why self-awareness is the single most important indicator of your future success.

Here is what the audience learned…

Self-awareness is rarely discussed in business circles, and yet it tells you everything about your future.

Alan Stein, the author of Raise Your Game, agrees with me on this.

In his excellent book, he tells the story of a young basketball player and how he could predict the player’s future success on the court based on his level of self-awareness off the court. This young basketball player chose to play for a high school team that would focus on improving his weaknesses, and ignore the hype surrounding his talent.

Stein (who has coached 100s of stars) says self-awareness is the single most critical characteristic of high performing athletes. It’s what gets them to the top of their field, and keeps them there every day.

How strong is your self-awareness? And how can you improve it?

As I write this, I’m visiting with an award-winning landscape company in Asheville, NC. They have invited me in to guide the owner and his team to grow from good to great…to extraordinary. I laid out the strategies to fast forward their success and domination of the Asheville market. But it still requires the owner and his team to be open to hearing my direct feedback, and then be willing to act on it.

With high levels of self-awareness, the owner and his team will easily surpass the extraordinary goals they have set!

How about you?

Your Challenge: Try this simple exercise in order to benchmark your self-awareness.

  1. Meet with your leadership team, and ask each person to rate themselves and each other on the following question: “Are you an intimidating leader or an approachable leader?”
  2. Score yourself first, on a scale of 1 to 5. The lowest score (1) means you are a very intimidating leader, and 5 means you are a very approachable leader. And the scores of 2-4 means you are ‘in-between’. You get the point.
  3. And then score everyone else on your team. And then…
  4. Share your scores with each other. And then…
  5. Go around the table and, one at a time, discuss your personal score vs. how others scored you. How similar were these scores? How clearly do you see yourself vs. how others see you?

The scores are not the main point. The ensuing discussion (around your perception of yourself and other people’s perception of you) is what will have the biggest impact. It will raise your self-awareness and that of your team.

Plus, it will foster an open and honest dialogue within your leadership team. And that’s priceless!

surfer riding wafe

Transition Your Company From Founder-Led to Founder-Inspired

At some point in the growth of your lawn or landscape company, you will want to focus your attention on new things. You may be bored with your current role, or you have personal or professional passions you want to follow.

Are you ready to make a change?

It is hard to make that transition, from leading the company to the role of inspiring the company. And if you are the face of the company, it is 10x harder.

How will you do this so that your company legacy continues to soar, while you shift your focus?  

Grab a cup of coffee and ponder this example: 

When Howard Schultz of Starbucks made the transition (for the second time, after the first time backfired), he made it clear to his troops that the new CEO was in charge. They held a private meeting, all sitting down on the wooden floor of the original Pike Place store. Howard then stood up and said to Kevin (the new CEO) and the leadership team, “This is my personal key to the Pike Place store. It is a key that I’ve carried with me for decades. And I want to present you this key as a symbol of this transition.”  

In my experience, a successful “next generation” leader tends to be more analytical because they don’t have the benefit of decades of operating by their gut and learning from early-on mistakes. 

Success also requires a more distributed leadership model. Even if the founder could initially run the business by herself or himself, the next generation cannot, or more accurately, should not do the same.

Assuming you have found the right leader or group of leaders, what will they actually focus on? 

  • Nurturing the vision
  • Making tough decisions to strengthen the company’s future path
  • Bringing more technology to bear
  • Greatly expanding the growth of the firm, based on the foundation built by the founder

What does a “founder-inspired” leader do?

You have a few choices on what your new role will be.  

  • Allow the new management to implement, i.e., stay out of their way! 
  • Look far ahead into the future growth, research new products and new markets 
  • Help ensure the original purpose of the company is kept alive, and strengthening the purpose to attract the younger generations.
  • Act as an advisor to the new leadership

When I speak to leaders, some of them also have other desires: 

  • Return to the field, back to their roots, to lead hands-on training
  • Go back to sales while someone else leads the firm
  • Or simply move on to enjoy life and travel more

Here is a prime example of a client who wants more free time:

I received a call from a landscape business owner who now wants to shift at the age of 52, take more frequent 4-5 day trips with his daughter, learn to surf, and enjoy life with his wife as traveling foodies. We will be working together to make that shift, and identify the team and infrastructure he needs in place to transition as quick as possible. 

Your challenge: Be honest with yourself – what would you like your role to be in the coming 3 to 5 years. (Don’t plan 10 years out to make this shift, that is too far in the future.) Start putting steps in place now to transition from founder-led to founder-inspired.

FINISH YOUR FINANCIAL YEAR STRONG WITH 12 PRACTICAL IDEAS

Finish Your Financial Year Strong With 12 Practical Ideas

“Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic.” – Robin Sharma

Your performance in this final quarter of the year will have an oversized impact on your year-end profits. In fact, it’s so important, that you should be reminded of it and think about it every year at this time. 

The question you should ask yourself is how you can persistently stay the course and finish this year with stronger net profits? Here are two critical areas of consideration.

1. Weekly Throughput 

The main driver of your net profit in the fourth quarter is measured by your company’s Weekly Throughput, i.e., the amount of billable production work your company can produce (“put through”) each week.

Here is why this is so important: Even though you estimate for net profit with each and every sale, starting with your first sale in January, the fact is that all the profit from those sales goes towards covering your overhead (OH) until all of your overhead is paid for. Once your overhead is covered, you have reached what accountants call your “break-even” date.

Once you hit your break-even date – all the profit you then make from every sale goes straight to your bottom line. Not only the net profit, but also the operational profit (that previously went to pay for overhead) now goes straight to the bottom line. This date is generally hit right before or in the 4th quarter.

Do you know what your break-even date is? Have you reached it yet?

2. Operational Margin

My high performing clients are able to achieve an Operational Profit Margin in the upper 30%’s and 40+% depending on the type of business they are in (and how long they have been working with me). If your operational margin is, for example, 35%, then after you hit break-even, every dollar that gets produced will put at least 35 cents or more towards your bottom line! That is a lot!

To this end, the more sales that your team can produce and bill in this final quarter, the more net profit you will ultimately earn. Conversely, if you have too many hiccups this fall, you put your year-end net profit at risk.

Thus your drive for additional revenues to maximize your margins should be on your mind all the time, if you want to finish the year strong

Here are 12 Ways You Can Increase your Weekly Throughput and Year-end Revenue:

  1. Keep salespeople motivated to continue selling through December, using situational and year-end incentives. Having an increased backlog is good, it puts positive pressure on the crews, so they have more than enough work to chew through.
  2. Decrease the non-billable time (shop time, morning, travel, deli and gas stops, evening) so more time is spent on billable work.
  3. Decrease (eliminate) the unnecessary go-backs needed to complete a job by ensuring crews are properly equipped and dispatched, with trucks and tools operating smoothly.
  4. Ask crews to plan to be flexible in case of bad weather, working late or weekends, so you can hit your Weekly Throughput goals.
  5. Use overtime (OT) to get your extra backlogged work done; the incremental cost of OT will be more than offset by the additional operating profit that will drop straight to your bottom line. Do the math!
  6. Sell more fall and winter add-on services. Remember, enhancement sales can be sold at a higher margin than your standard work anyhow, so it is a double win.
  7. Walk every maintenance property and sell them services to be done now, or in the winter.  Find extra work that can be performed by crews already on maintenance properties.
  8. Sell holiday decor now to be done this fall. For example, how about selling front door arrangements as you see in the magazine Southern Living?
  9. Sell fireplaces and hardscapes to be started now (and completed during the winter).
  10. Raise next year’s hourly rate right now, and apply it to your fall work. Who says you have to wait till January to raise rates?
  11. Deliver your holiday presents to clients early, and they will likely give you more work to take care of.
  12. Incentivize your crews to increase their Weekly Throughput. Make crews accountable for their weekly production goals, and motivate them to be as efficient as possible. Share the winnings when they sprint through the finish line.

Connect the dots:

Many employees may not immediately grasp how sprinting through the finish, and ensuring a healthy net profit will benefit them and their families. Take the time to explain this to them by connecting the dots on how it benefits the company and how it benefits them directly. Using an incentive plan helps them see directly how it benefits them and creates a win/win situation for both of you.

(I love helping companies set up effective incentive plans because it is so win-win when done right!)

Your Challenge: Pull everyone together if you have not already done so, and explain to them which day in your calendar you hit break-even and how the production during the 4th quarter will help the company hit and beat its year-end profit goals, thus benefiting everyone.

boat on open water by an island

20 Hour Work Week Challenge

Do you work full time, or are you able to take time off –– and diversify your interests?

I am currently working with a seasoned but young business owner who has moved his family overseas to live in the promised land. I am coaching his GM and working with his team; he works an hour a week.

What would you do if you had an extra 10, 20 or even 30 hours free each week? How would you spend it? Continue reading 20 Hour Work Week Challenge

Are you going to GIE + Expo / Landscapes in Louisville?


If you’re coming to the biggest landscape show on earth, the week of October 15th, you won’t be disappointed!

Here are 7 opportunities for you to connect with me at this event, and for you to gain more from your visit!

Plus there is one extra resource at the very end of this post, that you’ll want to use for any conference you attend in the future.

  1. Attend the ticketed Design-Build workshops on Tuesday, I’m a guest speaker in the afternoon, and will be sharing brand new concepts for making your business run better. It will be highly interactive and you won’t want to miss it!
  2. Wednesday you can attend both of my talksIn the morning, “Creating a Five Star Brand” and in the afternoon, “Benchmarking for Profit.” You’ll leave with brand new tools that I’ve never shared before. Don’t miss it.
  3. Wednesday and Thursday’s Breakfast With Champions are superb learning events. You’re invited to join me at my table to learn about Achieving 20% Net Profit” and “Developing Your Second In Command” 
  4. Wednesday you really want to attend the special ticketed CEO
    Forum.  I’ll also be attending, on the topic of “Breaking into the Millennial Mind”.
  5. Wednesday night, if you want to network and have a great time, you should attend the IGI Investors Reception at the Omni hotel. You must make a donation to this worthy fund to gain entry but it’s well worth it.
  6. Let’s coordinate a time to meet up together, one on one, in Louisville, to discuss your business, goals and ambitions. Email me directly so we can confirm the date and times.
  7. You’re going to be busy, don’t forget to see the live concerts, and take advantage of all the great networking and education! My favorite is The Muhammad Ali museum, it is fabulous!

One last thing, if you really want to maximize the value of your visit to this or any conference, read this blog: 11 tips to maximize your time and money spent going to conferences. 

The Race Is On! But Will YOU Win?

Wouldn’t you love to learn how to raise the competitive spirit of your team?

Last week we did just that, with a select group of landscape and irrigation business owners at my Driven To Win event, held at BMW’s high-performance racetrack in S.C. 

It was unique and exhilarating; not your typical landscape conference!

Here are 6 lessons from the event that you, as a landscape contractor, can apply right away:

1. The Excitement of Competing Against One’s Peers

Even though no money was at stake, we all wanted to win the various mini-competitions that BMW set up for us. 

One of the attendees, Ken Hutten, shared that he is reserved and not normally competitive, but he stepped up and won one of the contests. He enjoyed the competition and camaraderie, and pondered how he could bring that same degree of excitement back to his operations. 

So how do you create fun competition in your company to crank up your people’s focus and results?

2. The Power of Metrics

We could see our scores (and the scores of our peers) each time we raced through a ‘time trial,’ and so we immediately had a new goal to beat, whether it was ours or our peers. 

This immediate feedback was a wonderful mechanism for improvement. 

So, how do you give meaningful daily and weekly feedback? Does it instill a competitive spirit?

3. Camaraderie Made Us All Excel

We enjoyed getting to know one another personally over a meal the night before the event. (We had a private chef in an exclusive loft.) 

This increased our enjoyment and our willingness to get “naked”, i.e., be more open and honest with each other when we convened the final day to debrief and apply our experiences.

Do you have that same level of open trust on your team?

4. Getting Feedback Was Crucial

We had three to four professional racecar drivers who were coaching us throughout the day.  

Some of us got too much feedback and it became distracting, and at other times we received “the perfect tip” to greatly increase speed around a corner. 

There were also times we were left wanting more feedback. (I wanted to beat one of the others and needed crucial feedback, but the coach wasn’t paying attention and couldn’t help me.)

Your business lesson – how, and how often, you give feedback is crucial – every employee wants it differently. Some want it more direct and more often than you think. Ask your people; make learning fun.

5. Daily Brief/Debrief

It helped us as a group to debrief how we did after it was all over, and then apply the lessons back to our business. We all had skin in the game (pride, business and personal goals). 

When your people have skin in the game, and when they have their own personal goals, they will gain even more value from the debriefs you hold at work — whether daily or weekly.

6. We Shared Our Failures

By the end of the day we were tired, and yet we had one more competition – the final time trial.  

I was pumped…but then I spun my $110,000 M5 off the track into the dirt. (No damage luckily.) I wanted to win, but my stamina could not keep up.  I was seeing the “red mist”, i.e., where one’s ambition clouds one’s judgment. Not good. ;-(

I was not alone. And so we took time to discuss our failures––on the track and in business. We kept it real and learned from each other. 

The best learning organizations have developed this same trust and a method for sharing problems and how to overcome them. Do you have this same camaraderie and support at your company?

Your Challenge: Make work fun, make competing fun, and use feedback and metrics to help your people improve. Don’t be afraid to share failures. And, just as important, take time away from the day-to-day to recharge and take advantage of out-of-the-box learning.  

See photos below, and stay tuned for my next unique event to help you truly excel at work.

bmw racing track

BMW performance track in S.C.

Jeffrey Scott bmw thumbs up

Ready to rumble!

bmw racing competition

Excited to get started!

bmw racing group team photo

We left it all out on the track.

bmw race team medals competition

Top 3 drivers of the day!