Is Your Leadership Team Structured For Success?

Dec 21, 2020 | Blog, Leadership

How do you know you have chosen the right organizational structure to lead your team to success?

Years ago, while in business school, I studied the teachings of Alfred Chandler (a management guru). He coined the phrase that “structure follows strategy.” It is a business principle that states you must decide on your company strategy first, then develop the right organizational structure to support that strategy.

You don’t just copy and paste it out of a book.

There is a popular book making the rounds in our industry, “Traction”, which claims the opposite: that there is only one way to structure your leadership team.

That’s a big mistake.

There are many alternative ways to structure your landscape business depending on your strategy, the owner’s personality, goals, and business niche.

How do you know you have chosen the right organizational structure to lead your team to success? Share on X

Three examples:

A classic approach is for the owner to assume the CEO slot and hire a general manager to run the rest of the business. My good friend and client, Bob Drost, at Drost Landscapes operates this way.  Dale Drier, his GM, runs all the sales, finance, and operations.

Having said that, I have also seen where the owner hires a CEO to oversee the business so the owner can focus on what he or she wants to do (often it’s sales or new product/business development). My friend and client, George Tucker owner of LanDesign in St Louis, operates this way and is very happy and prosperous not being the CEO of his three different companies.

There are also highly successful landscape organizations set up with division managers, sometimes called branch managers. Many large commercial maintenance firms have branches. Many single-site lawn and landscape companies have grown quite large with the divisional structure, like Southern Botanical in Dallas, TX, run by my friend, Jason Craven. He has only four direct reports to run his large operations.

With middle management, “structure follows strategy.”

After you decide who reports to you, as the owner, you then need to decide what the next level of management will look like.

Traction” would have you believe there is only one way to structure middle management: with a sales manager, an operations manager, and an admin manager— but that is dangerously oversimplified.

There are many ways, and finding the right way for you is key to your scalability, happiness, and success.

Drost does it one way, LanDesign does it another, and Southern Botanical does it a third way.

Your Challenge:

To ensure a successful 2021 and beyond, you must define what you want your role to be as the owner and then outline your three-year (and longer) business strategy. Then, decide on the organizational structure that will best support your goals.