Adapt, change and innovate

Harvester Bill Arman shares eight ways to conquer common challenges in Cream of the Crop.

There has never been a better time for your organization to make some changes in how you run your business. Often when we are faced with many business challenges like we’re experiencing today, we not only should change; we must adapt, change and innovate or be left behind. Or, even worse, left out altogether — as in gone.

Here are some of the key areas businesses should focus on, pay attention to and implement newer and better methods to resolve and actually take advantage of these challenges.

Workforce shortage

There is plenty of work to be done, but finding and keeping good team members has become the biggest challenge we have faced in the history of our industry.

Rising costs

The cost and availability of the workforce, fuel, materials, equipment and vehicles has been turbulent. This puts increased pressure on organizations to be more efficient with their estimating, pricing and renewal processes.

Government regulations

More and more fertilizers and pesticides are being limited or forbidden for use. H-2B allocations are becoming less reliable. Gas-operated equipment and vehicles are being mandated by cities (now) and even some states (soon) for conversion to electric powered equipment.

8 ways to conquer your challenges!

Here are few suggestions to help with dealing with these challenges that we face today.

1. Learn About Leading Change. One of the best authors and books about change is Jon Kotter with his book on Leading Change and the parable version, Our Iceberg is Melting. Both are great books to help leaders with Kotter’s 8-step process to lead and implement change at your organization.

2. Engage Your Team. Good leaders engage their team to gather the collective knowledge and experience of their team members. Conduct regular meetings to get input on ways you can become more efficient, effective and safe. You will be surprised what you can learn by engaging and collaborating with your team.

3. Engage Your Customers. Conduct one-on-one sessions and focus groups with your current and potential customers. Learn more about their business challenges and ways they suggest how to deal with your challenges.

4. Seek and Take Good Counsel. This can be accomplished in several ways:

  • Trailblazers: Many state associations and National Association of Landscape Professionals’ (NALP) members have a Trailblazer Program where you can get free advice and valuable input from a seasoned professional.
  • Consultants: There are plenty of excellent consultancies that can be a good fit with your specific areas of focus and needs.
  • Mentor: Every leader should have a mentor to bounce challenges and ideas off regularly. A mentor may not even be a landscape person, but a person who has grown a successful business. This can be found for free from sources like SCORE.

5. Join a Peer Group. It’s nice to know other leaders have some similar challenges, and peer groups help come up with collective ideas and solutions. There are plenty of industry peer groups available that have had some very successful results. Remember, we are better together than we are by ourselves.

6. Attend Conferences. Learn from speaker presentations, workshops and vendor expertise. There are many state organizations, and NALP conducts annual conferences. Lawn & Landscape magazine also conducts a technology conference annually.

7. Online Learning. Certainly, hands-on or learn-by-doing is perhaps the best method for learning; however, there are many online opportunities as well. Pick a topic where your need is greatest and seek out online learning opportunities.

8. Read Articles, Books/Audio Books, Internet.

  • Industry Magazine/Online: Certainly, Lawn & Landscape magazine has many articles that are most helpful.
  • Books: Decide on key areas of focus at your organization. Pick one or two out and mandate your team read it.
  • Internet/YouTube/Podcasts: etc.:

It’s still amazing what is available to help you in many areas.


The challenges are plenty for sure. The companies that see these as opportunities and take advantage of these challenges by adapting, changing and innovating will emerge as true industry leaders.

Cream of the Crop features a rotating panel from the Harvest Group, a landscape business consulting company.

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August 2022
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