Profit Before Taxes
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Profit Before Taxes
SummitCove is a property management company that manages several hundred vacation properties in the Keystone Ski Resort, Keystone, Colorado. The company offers a full array of vacation property management services such as marketing and renting individually owned vacation homes, and housekeeping and maintenance services that include carpet cleaning and painting.
Back in 2015, the company was forced to lay off 30 employees because it had absorbed too much overhead relative to the work at hand. Owner Peter Reeburgh and his leadership team vowed to never let that happen again. But to do that, they needed a way to better forecast their financials and workload needs into the future.
After hearing about Great Game™ on a podcast interview with another vacation property management company, Reeburgh and his team thought they had found the answer. After the leadership team read Jack Stack’s book and attended The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) Annual Conference, he made the decision to implement GGOB with the help of their coach, Kevin Walter, starting in October 2019. One of their first moves was to redesign their entire accounting system so that it was geared more toward forecasting the future than simply recasting past results.
Since the implementation of GGOB, Reeburgh says that he’s seen much stronger engagement from all team members and departments—even as the pandemic hit at the tail-end of their peak ski season. “We have seen people speak up that we never expected,” he says, “and others take ownership like never before. Our culture is stronger than ever and the motivation factor in our teams has increased exponentially.” At the same time, playing GGOB has had a personal impact on Reeburgh as well. “I think differently now,” he says. “I am more able to work ‘on’ the business and not worry as much about the smaller projects that need to be done and staying on top of people all the time. There are times when I need to create a tool to track something better now, which is much more rewarding to be able to provide the tools my employees need than just doing it myself.”
“It's amazing to see everyone understand where we are financially and know where they affect the numbers. Front line employees now have a better idea of the small things they do that affect the bigger numbers. For example, we were consistently throwing away our room keys which cost $1 a piece. Once we brought it to the huddle and showed where that money goes, everyone was much more aware and housekeepers were bringing them back every day. It has improved our communication as a team to be able to cross department lines and explain how each person plays a part in several different areas of the company.”
~ Chelsea Coye, Service Excellence Manager
The news report in March—during the last weeks of the peak ski season—was ominous: someone in the Keystone area tested positive for the coronavirus. Then the news got worse, a lot worse: the person had stayed in one of SummitCove’s properties. While the team scrambled to clean and disinfect the property, and put new procedures into place, the state issued an order shutting down the ski season for good. As refund requests poured in, SummitCove faced a potentially devastating scenario. But, thanks to the improvements the company had made playing GGOB, the company’s cash forecasts looked solid in the short-term—which meant nobody’s job was at stake. In fact, Reeburgh gave his employee’s two paid days off with the only request to come back to work with new energy and ideas about how to grow the business. “If I think back just two years ago and if this would have happened, we would have been bankrupt after only 11 days,” says Reeburgh. “Instead, our people are coming up with incredible ideas on how to save money, make more money, and weather the COVID19 storm together!”
“For starters, GGOB has allowed us to stay in business during the pandemic. We are all grateful for the financial transparency. Culturally, it allows the whole team to come together weekly, it's inclusive, bilingual, and allows everyone to have a real stake in the company. As HR, the gains sharing aspect is an exceptional benefits perk for retention and recruitment.”
~ Gina Josette, HR Manager
The first company-wide MiniGame the SummitCove team tackled was aimed at driving up the number of rental properties they collectively managed from 290 to 305 over three months. Each department came up with ways they could impact the number either by ensuring current property owners were given great customer service or by asking them for referrals. When the MiniGame closed, the team had met their goal—earning everyone a free professional chair massage at work.
Reeburgh remains committed to leveling up their game in the next year—starting with asking different team members to step up and own line numbers on the P&L and getting in deeper with developing their culture of leadership in the company this year. Another goal is to roll out departmental scoreboards when the time is right.
“Our culture has seen a huge increase in financial responsibility. Prior to our GGOB roll out we had a very poor accounting system and no financial clarity. Our team members have stepped up and owned learning how we generate revenues and what our expenses are. We now run a weekly huddle, our revenue meetings and cash flow meetings are now purposeful and we have money in the bank.”
~ Tyson Horner, General Manager
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