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2021 Case Study - CM's Outdoor Solutions Group

Omaha, NE

2020 Revenues:
$7.1 million

Employees: 57

Critical Numbers™: Profit Before Taxes

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 employees, including H2B team members 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 GGOB Conference, they decided to implement The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) with the help of a coach, Kevin Walter, in February 2018.


There’s a lot of positive trends happening at CM’s thanks to playing GGOB. Case in point: In 2017, before they began playing The Game, sales revenue was just shy of $5.2 million with a PBT of $204k. In 2020, despite the pandemic, those numbers grew to $6.5 million and $804k, respectively—which works out to 25% increase in sales and 294% growth in PBT in just four years. But the impact also goes beyond the financials. “Using GGOB to coach team members makes me feel as though we are giving team members a chance to learn something more than the task at hand,” says Monico, “a chance to better themselves for the long term.”

“ GGOB has helped a ton with employee engagement. It makes my team think like a owner and treat every customer as its their own company. It’s also helped me in my role as my team makes group decisions to help better our customers and our company.”

~ Matt Olson, Tree/Turf Operations and Landscape sales

Spotlight on the Pandemic

Just as like most years, 2020 offered plenty of curveballs from Mother Nature for the CM’s team to navigate. While the pandemic shut down some industries, the need for yard maintenance and, later, snow removal helped drive strong results for the business, and earned the team A Stake in the Outcome® bonus. “ GGOB continued to be our rock we leaned on the entire year,” says Monico. 

The bigger struggle that the team faced in 2020 was battling through the War for Talent, where CM’s, like so many businesses, is finding it difficult to keep fully staffed. But that’s yet another area where Monico says they are leaning on GGOB for help. “We promote our open-book culture in our recruiting and hiring practices,” says Monico. “We think GGOB is a differentiator for us. It’s a foundation we can tie to.”

MiniGame™ Spotlight

The CM’s team has found MiniGames to be effective as a way to get the team focused on hitting their Critical Number, PBT. The sales team has used MiniGames to grow sales in new divisions, for instance, while production has been able to focus on efficiency and cutting costs. “MiniGames have been instrumental in helping people understand that what they do affects the bottom-line even if that just means getting out of the shop prepared and on-time,” says Monico, adding that he’s excited to see how the production team’s focus has begun to shift to more of a revenue focus with their latest MiniGame ideas. “They realize the benefit of making a bigger pie to share,” says Monico.

“The culture has slowly changed towards team members asking more questions and expecting more learning opportunities about business and the numbers that matter.

Engagement has increased within the team as some team members have learned a much better understanding of the game. Some of those that didn't believe in the game have moved on and those that have joined the company in the past year have seemed to buy in due to their questions and help from the team since the team has learned so much over the years.”

~ Frank Mac, Sales / Project Advisor

What’s Next

Monico says he has now set his sights on his next long-term goal—for the business to become employee-owned by an ESOP.  “While that will not happen in 2021,” he says, “we plan to continue to take steps towards that goal.” To help pave the way for an ownership culture, Monico says he’d like the team to continue to make further strides in terms of creating more dynamic and consistent divisional, or small group Huddles. Monico says he sees an opportunity for their OCC to become a more integral part of these small groups. “We plan to coach them through specific examples and help them to employ GGOB principles in their everyday tasks,” he says, adding that the GGOB Community site is also a resource he’s looking for his team to maximize, especially learning from other GGOB players by participating in peer groups.


“GGOB's impact has helped to define the standard that we strive for. CM's culture has always been about people—employees and clients. Practicing The Great Game is a clear example of our continued dedication to that mission and provides tangible evidence to new employees.”

~ Bobby Byers, Design / Marketing





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