The Belly Of The Beast

Sep 12, 2022 | Events, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Strategy

Last week we looked into the belly of the beast during our Summer Growth Summit.

Three hundred smiling faces enjoyed 2+ days of networking, learning, inspiration, and a behind-the-scenes view into Drost (Petoskey, MI).

Here are ten takeaways in case you didn’t make it (and even if you did.)

The Belly Of The Beast.

Industry veteran Nate Moses (Precision Landscape Management, SC) told us “It was the best landscape event I have ever attended, and the Drost team was impressive on every front. What an inspiring experience!

Talks were given by 10 clients of mine, and 10 leaders from Drost.

Here Are 10 Counter-Intuitive And Fresh Insights

(From the Summer Growth Summit (and from our client-only pre-event the day before)

  1. Employee Retention Is Created By Holding Your People Accountable. Show your people how they are doing and direct them on how they can win in their roles. You can show you care by taking the time to have an accountable conversation; helping your people succeed will plug the holes in your company, according to Sean Baxter, Owner, Lawn and Landscape Solutions, Kansas City.
    (Note, Sean is fully staffed by using this approach, driving culture and recruiting through his people.)
  2. Building Community Creates A Sticky Culture. People have stress at home. Make your workplace a productive and inspiring community for employees to catch a break to grow themselves personally and professionally, according to Dustin Wolfe, Artistic Grounds, Cape Cod.
    (Note, Artistic Grounds is fully staffed by implementing pts 2, 3 and 4. They can cherry-pick new hires as they scale, which they are doing quite quickly.)
  3. Training Every Week Shows You Put Your Money Where your Mouth Is. Even in your peak season, if you invest in training your staff, it shows that you value them over the work. If you think you don’t have the time for this, you are only hurting yourself (and your people), according to Angela Cenzalli, GM, Artistic Grounds. She showed us how to set up training programs that work. You can buy her book on Amazon, “Training and Leadership Planner.”
  4. Training On Communication And Personal Development Makes All The Difference. Artistic Grounds shared how these skills become the glue that makes your training stick and your productivity multiply. A third of your training should be on these two topics, says Angela, and within 3 months you will start to see a return on your investment.
  5. More Productive Meetings Make Your Company More Profitable. Hold more meetings than you think you might need, and keep them very structured. Drost focuses on 3 types: One-on-one coaching meetings, team operational meetings, and leadership strategic planning. To get that last 5% of the profit you have been chasing, you need to take more time to review metrics while growing your people, as proven by Dale Drier, GM of Drost, Petoskey, MI.
  6. Internal Peer Groups Create Buy-In. Two companies showed how they develop Super Foremen through this process of internal peer group meetings with foremen. Thank you to Brandon Lair (The Site Group, Dayton, OH) who showed us how his foremen now work at the level of project managers. Thanks to Ron Gorz (Semmer Landscape, Chicago) who showed everyone how his foremen advisory council made of immigrant workers have taken ownership and have become an important conduit to employee growth and retention. Peer groups do work!
  7. Project Managers Can Estimate And Sell Work. Brent Ward, DB Manager of Drost, showed how their project managers work efficiently (with no hand-offs needed) and how they were able to increase their client communication and margins by making the PM’s the center of their selling and production process.
  8. Review Sales/Manhour And Billable Hours At Every Single Meeting. Drost showed how they consistently and relentlessly review metrics in every department, every week, month and quarter. They guide their people to connect numbers to dollars, and how to make plans based on results. Every leader at Drost knows how to drive towards numerical goals. Every meeting they hold reinforces these goals and the gaps that they need to close.
  9. Profit Sharing Works If You Talk It Up. Drost shared their specific approach and formula to profit sharing, and how they update their employees every other week on how they are doing. Frequency breeds buy-in!
  10. It’s All About Developing And Hiring Top-Notch Leaders. The Summer Growth Summit attendees shared with me how impressed they were with everyone’s presentations at Drost, from production to sales to marketing to HR. Drost shows that the proof is in the pudding: If you develop (and hire) top leaders for each business area, then you will achieve extraordinary results.

There were hundreds of learning points that I could not share. I do hope one of these points above stirs your thinking!

Panel Discussion

After Drost gave their presentations, we heard from four great contractors (photo, in order): Ted Lucia (Lucia Landscaping, MI), Wade Vugteveen (DeHamer Landscaping, MI), Shanna Scordo (EarthCraft Landscaping, PA), Molly John (M.J. Design Assoc, OH).

They shared insights on how to:

  • Finish the year strong
  • Deal with the economic ups and downs
  • Grow oneself as a leader

I found it to be eye-opening that each panelist (all members of my Peer Groups) had their unique approach. It gave us all a varied and comprehensive perspective!

(By the way, that’s one of the values of our Leader’s Edge Peer Groups: Thoughtful perspectives from industry leaders. Email me if you would like more info.)

The Belly Of The Beast.

Retire In Place

The event ended with a talk I gave on how to Retire in Place. I am also holding a 1.5hr webinar on this topic).

Videos And Photos

Drost will share some of the videos from the event and their work. Once I get them, I will share them with you in a later email.

For now, please enjoy some of the photos from the event, with captions below.

The Belly Of The Beast.

Bob Drost and his team presented, with Christina from LM Magazine and me.

The Belly Of The Beast.

Dale Drier, GM of Drost, shared their profit-sharing formulas and details on the final day.

The Belly Of The Beast.

Brent Ward of Drost shares his passion for design, sales and building.

The Belly Of The Beast.

Reception at the Delamar Hotel for clients and sponsors after the “pre-event.”

The Belly Of The Beast.

A view from our airplane window as we flew over the Grand Traverse Bay, leaving for home. We were exhausted, excited, and thrilled to see so many friends and clients.

Thank you to everyone at Drost, and our team: Corine Koornhof, Sean Baxter and Loriena Harrington for making this event one for the books!

Regards, Jeffrey Scott!