All-Star Case Studies

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2019 Case Study - CM's Outdoor Solutions

CMs Outdoor Solutions Group

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

2018 Revenues: $5.5 million

Employees: 46

The Critical Number™: Profit Before Tax (PBT)

Organization Background

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

“I have wondered over the years how we stayed in business given all the money we spent. Now, getting to know the big picture through the financials, I can see how it all fits together. I see how all the lines on the income statement impact each other and how we can make a dollar in the end.  Great Game™ gets our team to think outside the box and make decisions based on what’s best for the company where we can all benefit through our GainShare program. ~ Matt McMaster, Division Manager.


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, they decided to implement Great Game 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. “The team now understands how to make a profit—which was something we didn’t let them know before,” says Monico. Thanks to ideas generated by the associates, the company has also created new diverse lines of business including becoming a dealer for a new line of battery-operated lawn equipment and providing mower and small equipment repair services for clients. “It’s really exciting to see what our younger people can do once they get the opportunity to learn about the business of being in business,” says Monico, who describes himself as a recovering accountant. “I’ve had to rewire myself. It’s a reminder about how powerful it can be when you remove the complexity and just focus on making more than you spend.”


“Things have changed because of playing The Great Game of Business.  More people are interested and engaged. It’s a snowball effect. Before, we would get our job tickets with no explanation behind it. Now we see the effects of every job and whether we made a margin or not. Thanks to the Great Game, everything is now open to us; all the information is there. Our crew members are getting educated on the business and they’ve begun asking the right questions. We’re not leaving anyone behind anymore.” ~ Irvin Hernandez-Saavedra, Landscape Foreman

MiniGame™ Spotlight:

Monico says his team has used MiniGames to support sales efforts across many service lines, inspire innovation and an owner-like mentality in their field personnel, and create better communication channels. He says they are currently running nine MiniGames across the company, which have a cumulative goal of generating $230,000 in new revenue for the business. “Although we have had good results from our games,” he says, “we have found that the learning and communication that revolves around them is invaluable. They facilitate learning in fun ways that are easy to relate back to the all-company scoreboard and further the financial understanding of each employee.”



“The Great Game has brought everyone closer as a group because we now understand the numbers. We’re looking out for each other a lot more; we try to have everyone’s back. We’re still learning every day. But it changes how I look at work. And when we play MiniGames, it’s like everyone is a kid again. It makes work fun.” ~ Jose Pasillas, Foreman


What’s Next?

While the team has made enormous progress over the past year, the team sees multiple areas where they can improve, including their huddles, where they continue to make strides in explaining the numbers to their bilingual workforce. Monico also sees room for improvement in the team’s forecasting abilities and in moving toward more bottom-up budgeting and strategic planning through the High-Involvement Planning™ process.


“The Great Game of Business has helped take our culture to another level. It’s opened up the entire business and helped us become better communicators. It’s made us a destination place to work. It’s become our way to engage our entire workforce and to grow the company from the bottom up instead of the top down.”  ~ Bobby Byers, Landscape Designer, Marketing Coordinator, and Chairman of the OCC

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