Begin with the Right Leadership: Stop Working IN Your Business and Start Working ON Your Business

The end of 2021 will mark my 27th year in the landscaping business. I’m not too sure if it is or isn’t funny how time flies!  From the days of trying to keep the wolf away from the door while trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, to the business of Creative Roots that we have built today, I’d have to admit that I am a bit more than reasonably proud of what we have accomplished.  All the right, wrong and unsure choices about so many things have led to what I consider a pretty good and interesting journey. 

As I write, I wonder what your story is? Is it much like mine that started with one truck and one lawnmower, or did you buy an existing, tenured business? Are you wondering what to do next or is the path forward as clear as day? In either case, I’d bet my bottom dollar we would agree that if we only knew then what we know now, things could have been much easier. Who would have thought that so much Strategy regarding Leadership, Purpose Statements, Core Values, Financial, Marketplace, Operations and People systems, etc. would need to exist in order to sustainably grow a business that makes money and at the same time serves people well?  Not me!  

So….will next year be the same old, same old or is there something different you can do to be sure you get Better problems rather than Bigger ones?  Who and how can you improve leadership? Why and how can you share your why in the most effective way? What information will you share and what is the most important thing to focus on? What behaviours will drive the biggest win? How will you communicate, celebrate, reward, and so on!

All of the above questions are 100% important but are overshadowed by what I have come to know as the clearest form of confusion – and most commonly discussed concern – in business…What comes next? 

Well…. let’s get started with Step 1 of 10 Steps to Great Game Implementation


Define the leader: At our company, we believe our leaders must be prepared to learn, teach, share, and be involved. It starts with a sincere belief in people and fosters mutual respect and trust.

Define common and non-negotiable beliefs:  The following beliefs are at the core of what is felt about the organization’s people:

  1. If I don’t inform my people, someone else will.
  2. Given the opportunity, people will want to learn the business.
  3. Provided education, people can learn the business. 
  4. Given the trust, people will make the right decisions for the business.
  5. Given the respect, people will contribute to the success of the business.
  6. People should share in the rewards they help create.

Look for the characteristics of a good Open Book Management leader:

  1. Vulnerability. I am willing to ask for help.
  2. Humility. I do not have all the answers.
  3. Servant Leadership. I am focused on the needs of the team and the company. Not my own.
  4. Courage. I am willing to open up and release control. 

Build a leadership team that helps you design The Game

This leadership “design team” builds the top-level game for the organization… They are the change mechanism to implement  The Great Game of Business practices. In larger organizations, the team is made up of Senior Management members along with 2-3 key employees, if desired. In smaller ones, it may include all or almost everyone. This team participates in all 10 steps to design The Game and then evolve the internal Great Game champions when the company starts to play. Each of the 10 Steps is outlined in a participant workbook that can be used from year to year to keep from jumping ship to try the next “flavour of the month” idea that keeps you from committing fully to a system that can quickly help you and your team focus and have you talking the same language. 

Disclaimer: I don’t mean to imply that I have not seen other great best practices. In fact, many of those are very common to the practices of The Great Game. What I have experienced first hand in my nearly 30 years of business is that the most efficient, most profitable way to operate and sustainably grow a business that doesn’t have you (the owner) and a few people at the top up at night worrying half of all the time is to educate everybody on how the business works, give them a voice in saying how the company is run and provide them with a stake in the outcome: good or bad. 

The Great Game of Business is not just a system, a philosophy, an attitude or a methodology. It’s all those things and more. It’s about tapping into the universal desire to be a winner and as far as I know, the only one that drives the true measure of a businesses success – the financials and how each person can affect them – to the front line rather than keep them guarded for a select few at the top. 

What system and best practices have you and your team committed to?  

Next up…

Step 2Share the Why before the How

About Me

Through my experiences, I have been fascinated by business and all it offers to improve people’s lives. From working on the shovel, business visioning, and everything in between, to now sharing my experiences through personalized coaching services, my goal is to help other owners work on their business, increase profits, and have more time for themselves while finding enjoyment along the way.

Having recently completed my certification to become a Great Game of Business Coach has helped me realize that it’s been our commitment over the last 14 years to the fundamentals of Open Book Management, (the basis of which is that the information received by employees should not only help them do their jobs effectively but help them understand how the company is doing as a whole), and the Great Game system of doing so has helped us become what we are today.

Need Someone To Talk To?

What’s your biggest pain point? Let’s connect to discuss how having me coach you through implementing Open Book Management can change your business and your life for the better. 

Schedule a time to chat with me