April 3, 2020
Myscha StaffordIn this unprecedented climate that we are currently experiencing, we look to our leaders for direction and reassurance. Having strong leaders is more important than ever.

Landscape Ontario member Michael Van Dongen recently loaned me the book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win. I admit, I underestimated the correlation between the Navy Seals and business.
Business owners know the pressures on them. The best leaders are those who accept the responsibilities of all aspects of the business, but also those that create the best teams to work with them to achieve a common goal. In challenging times like these, we need leaders who unify a team and give clear direction. As your team prepares for its 2020 mission, here are some lessons from the Navy Seals that can be applied to your business:

Cover and move

In Seals lingo, this means that before you move, you have to ensure someone else is providing cover for the person/team that is ready to move. It means everyone must be able to work as a team, with direct and clear communication. Every person must be fully-aware of the actions about to be taken (the plan). In your business, each employee must know their direct role in your company’s success in accomplishing the mission at hand.

De-centralize command

Don’t let your team get stuck in a top-down command model. As the business owner, you are in command, but sometimes, those ‘in the field’ need the autonomy to make their own decisions. This is where having clear communication with your crew leaders and management is essential. They need to have your trust and support to make decisions on-site, rather than having to ask upper management staff for each decision. Giving your staff autonomy will better engage them with your company and make them feel like they are all working toward the same end-goal.

Have a plan

If 2020 has taught us anything so far, it is the reminder that things rarely go according to plan. It is important to have a Plan B, and maybe even a Plan C and D. Ensure all staff are aware of the contingency plans, so that if things go awry, no one is left wondering what happens next. This relates to the aforementioned strategy of decentralizing command and ‘leading downwards and upwards.’ When a plan is made by management, it is the crew leader, lead hand and other team members that enact the plan in the field. They will be the first to know if the plan cannot work or needs adjusting. Allow your team members to discuss with senior management and owners how to revise plans to achieve the greatest results.

By having strong company policies and procedures that your staff have been trained on, you are preparing them for success this season. Staff who are engaged and feel invested in achieving the common goals of the company will be more loyal and give you their best effort. In these ever-changing times, your teams are looking for leaders who make decisions and communicate these decisions so they can take action as we weather this storm.

Wishing you all the best this season.
Myscha Stafford
LO Membership and Chapter Coordinator