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Notes from our 2017 Leadership Forum

“You must Consistently Communicate that you are Competent and you Care.”

That’s what leadership expert John Spence calls “The 4 C’s of Trust”. And that awesomely simple sentence was just one of the many remarkable takeaways from our company’s 2017 Leadership Forum.

Last week, leaders from across our Yellowstone Landscape branches came together for three days of focus, fellowship, and fun. There were open, honest discussions about what we did well in 2016 and where we will improve in 2017. There were important lessons shared among friends and colleagues over lunches and dinners. There were moments of congratulations as we recognized the special successes of our 3 award-winning branches.

Here are a few of the highlights and lessons our leaders are taking back to their teams this week:

The week began with a State of the Company keynote from our CEO, Tim Portland, where we heard that our strategy remains the same as it’s always been:

Our goal is to be the best commercial landscaping company in the southern United States. And we define ‘best’ by measuring our performance in our five pillars of operational excellence: Safety, Customer Service Excellence, Financial Responsibility, Growth, and Team Building.”

We listened to the voice of our customers, as our EVP, Bill Dellecker, reviewed the results of our recently completed annual customer survey. While in many areas our customers told us we were doing a great job, when we analyze the results more deeply, we’ve found areas we can improve. Thank you to all of our customers who took the time to help us serve you better.

The highlight for most of our team was the workshop presented by international business leadership expert John Spence, where he shared his thoughts on the keys to excellence in customer service. His concept of “extreme client focus” has been a part of our company’s culture for a number of years, but through his workshop many of our branch leaders now have long lists of actionable items they will implement to make sure they’re serving our customers well.

Finally, there are three of our branches that are proudly displaying some new trophies in their offices this week.

Our first award given out was our Client Engagement Award, presented to the Charleston, SC Landscape Maintenance team. This award recognizes the branch location that had the highest scores on our annual client survey and has consistently served their clients well throughout the previous year.

The next award was presented to our North Houston Landscape Maintenance team; our Emerging Branch of the Year. The award recognizes their rapid year over year growth and the quality of service they are providing to all their clients.

Lastly, some special congratulations to our Branch of the Year for 2016, Houston Tree Care Services. Our Tree Care team in Houston had an amazing 2016, serving more than two thousand clients in the greater Houston area. Tree services are potentially a dangerous business, but our Houston Tree Care Team has proven that you can work safely and efficiently; in fact, those things go hand in hand.

After a special few days together, our branch leaders return home with a laser focus on providing customer service excellence in 2017 and with a clear definition of what Leadership means at Yellowstone Landscape:

“Leadership is driving ideas and changes to make improvements in important results.”

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Why Commercial Landscaping Clients Should Care About Pokemon Go

Seriously. You should pay attention to this thing. Give me three minutes and I’ll tell you why.

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Safety Spotlight #2

In our next installment of our Safety Spotlight, we recognize Eldrin from our Charleston landscape installation branch for his safety efforts.

Eldrin is working along a roadway in Goose Creek, prepping for a sod installation. He's using several cones and his Transition Area Warning Device to create a safe work zone for himself, and was also wearing all of his required PPE. 

Nicely done, Eldrin!  Thank you for putting your safety training into practice.

We look forward to seeing who ends up in our next Safety Spotlight post.

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Safety Works! Program Launches

Safety is the most important measure of success for our company.  Commercial landscaping is a dangerous business, so keeping our crews, our clients, and their property safe requires constant focus.

We recently launched our internal ‘Safety Works!’ program, designed to encourage our Landscape Professionals to work safely in the field. In return for putting their safety knowledge into safety practice, they have the chance to earn an extra incentive when they’re caught in the act - of safety.

It’s been a very successful program so far, and it’s easy to participate.  We ask our staff to send in photos from the field, telling us who’s in the photo, where they are, and what they’re doing safely.  We collect and share the photos and details with our whole company, recognizing our Landscape Professionals who are working safely across the company and reminding us all to work safely.

We hope you’ll enjoy seeing our Landscape Professionals in our upcoming Safety Spotlight features.


We start with a photo of Anthony from our Charleston Install branch.  Working beside a small residential roadway, in a construction area, with no vehicle to protect him, he’s using his traffic control devices to create a safe work zone for himself. Thank you, Anthony, for setting a great example in our first Safety Spotlight!

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Severe Weather and Your Property's Landscape

As we approach November 30th, the official end of hurricane season, we are grateful

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How Safety Conscious is Your Landscape Service?

I recently came across an infographic that detailed exactly how dangerous the landscape service business really is.  Here at Yellowstone Landscape, we’re fortunate to have a leadership team that takes our Culture of Safety very seriously, but the statistics cited in the research indicate that not every company in our business is so focused on protecting their employees.  While we’re certainly not perfect, we believe that how well a landscape service contractor cares for their people is a direct reflection of how well they will care for their clients.


Here are a few things pulled from our Safety Program that you can use to start a discussion about safety with your landscape service provider:


Company Vehicles and Equipment

  • Do not use a cell phone when operating vehicles or equipment unless it is an emergency. Also, do not engage in other unsafe activities (such as taking notes, reading maps, etc.) when operating vehicles or equipment.
  • Use cones, barricades, and other warning devices provided when working in traffic areas. Do not park vehicles or equipment where they are likely to get hit.
  • Turn off vehicles and equipment when they are not in use. Take the keys with you. Do not leave equipment unattended.
  • Only operate vehicles and equipment after you have been trained.
  • Do not allow passengers on any equipment and do not allow unauthorized persons to operate company vehicles or equipment.
  • Promptly report any missing or damaged safety devices to your supervisor. Do not operate equipment with missing or defective safety devices until they have been replaced.
  • Do not remove or disable guards, shields, or other safety devices unless you have been authorized to do so. Never bypass a safety device.


Employees Attire and Protection

  • When appropriate, dress according to your job standards. If you are working in the field, this includes: long pants and long-sleeved shirts, socks, boots or shoes with sturdy, nonslip soles, chemical-protection clothing and footwear when handling chemicals, and a hat for sun protection during the hot summer months.
  • Do not wear jewelry, drawstrings, or loose or frayed clothing when operating or working near powered machinery or equipment.
  • Wear a safety vest at all times where work zones include traffic.
  • Always use the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) — safety glasses, goggles, earplugs, gloves, hard hats, etc. — that has been assigned for the particular task. If your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) does not fit properly, immediately tell your supervisor so that it can be replaced.


General Safety Best Practices

  • Inspect work areas, equipment, and job sites for hazards before starting your work each day. Immediately report any unsafe conditions to your supervisor so that corrections can be made before you start work.
  • Think safety at all times. Do not distract coworkers or engage in roughhousing, horseplay, fights, or similar activities that increase the chances of an accident.
  • Do not take shortcuts and do not run.
  • Always use appropriate fall protection if not working at ground level.
  • Lift correctly to avoid sprains, strains, and back injuries. Always lift within your limits and never lift or move an object that weighs 50 pounds or more by yourself. Seek assistance from a coworker for heavy loads.
  • Practice good housekeeping at all times. Keep your work area and job sites free of objects and debris that could be tripping hazards. Do not allow oil, water, or other substances to remain on floors so they become slip hazards. Return all tools and equipment to their proper location at the end of the day.


The infographic, courtesy of Bolt Insurance, is available here


Safety – It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

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3235 North State Street
PO Box 849

Bunnell, FL 32110

 Customer Rating : 4.5 / 5Based on 57 ratings 

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