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2020 Case Study - CM's Outdoor Solutions Group

Omaha, NE

2019 Revenues:

Employees: 56

Critical Numbers™: Profit Before Tax

Organization Background

Started in 1993, and formerly known as CM’s A Cut Above, CM’s Outdoor Solutions Group provides a range of lawn care and landscaping services.


After running the business for more than 20 years, founder Chuck Monico wanted to find a system that would help create a greater sense of purpose and opportunity for all team members, including H2B workers from Mexico, to make a difference and see results, with an ultimate goal of building a foundation to eventually transfer ownership to the employees.


After Monico and a group of team members attended the 2017 Annual Gathering of Games Conference, they decided to implement The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) with the help of a coach, Kevin Walter, in February 2018.


Not only has the team’s financial performance improved, the team is asking more questions and leaders are emerging who are willing and capable of making decisions at the front-line level. For example, there is now significantly greater understanding of how different phases of different jobs—like snow

removal—can have a dramatic impact on the company’s profitability. “It’s really helped coalesce the concept of ‘win together or lose together’ into new attitudes and approaches to our job,” says Monico, adding that there is more willingness—even eagerness—for divisions to learn from each other to help drive sales. “Our company would be stagnant or at least moving at a slower pace, if we weren’t playing GGOB. I love to see others grow and learn, so this has been a positive experience for me, see others take the lead, or maybe reach a little farther. Implementing GGOB has been hard work and continues to be hard work for our team, there is much teaching and learning that needs to be done, but I would rather sell the business than not run the business with a GGOB mindset.”

“GGOB has made a huge impact in the interactions and operations of my workplace. Each task and action has a new perspective because we feel appreciated and that our input is valued in how it will affect the business and us. Understanding what impact each and every one of us makes each day makes me want to carry out my responsibilities to the best of my ability and take steps to further learn about GGOB.”

~ Bailey Krieger, Landscape Gardener

Spotlight on the Pandemic

Practicing GGOB for the last two years put the team in a position to where they were already being transparent with their numbers. Last year they started to transition from posting numbers on a physical scoreboard to an online format with a goal of spending more time telling stories about the numbers and less time reporting numbers. Fast forward to March 2020 when the pandemic hit. “We had no idea that having our numbers in a shared Google Doc would be a key piece to allowing us to transition to remote huddles and still be able to share the numbers,” says Monico.

MiniGame™ Spotlight

In 2019, CM’s ran a total of 10 divisional and three company-wide MiniGames. Areas of focus included targets like improving efficiency, reducing costs, and increasing sales. While not all of them accomplished their financial goals, each MiniGame provided the opportunity for crew members to enhance their line-of-sight between their actions and the financial performance of their division, or the company as a whole.

“Great Game has affected our culture in a positive way. As a group we have come to understand where and how our company makes money. We see how our day to day actions affect the bottom line and see either positive or negative changes in real time. This in turn has helped drive engagement into learning about a line or asking how we can improve our financial numbers.”

~Irvin Hernandez-Saavedra, Landscape Supervisor

What’s Next

While the team has made enormous progress, Monico sees two areas—communication and MiniGames—as areas for future improvement, especially in the wake of the pandemic. “Our all-company huddles have returned in twice per month online format and we are getting the hang of it,” says Monico. “Divisional huddles have been challenging as we never had a great rhythm before March 2020. Interesting, one of our teams, shop/yard team that wasn’t huddling or wasn’t huddling well before March is now the most productive huddle. Multiple people from outside their team have sat in on their huddle over the last eight weeks to see how they are educating and engaging.” When it comes to MiniGames, “We are still working to reduce our fear of failure,” says Monico.

“I think playing GGOB makes me a better employee and more well-rounded which makes me a more confident manager which in turn carries over into my home life.”

~ Matt McMaster, Division Manager



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