Committed to Excellence: It Starts With Us


By Phil Key, President

This years’ theme, Committed to Excellence: It Starts with Us, focused on the importance of setting and maintaining high standards and holding ourselves accountable. We accomplish this by both looking at the big picture and applying tools like our Five-Year Plan and Ruppert Values and by taking a more focused, individualized approach in areas like employee development, enhancing customer communication, and improving efficiency to beat job hours.

Excellence is defined as “the condition of surpassing some standards of expectation.” In many cases, we have succeeded in surpassing our own expectations in recent years: our revenue has continually exceeded what we budgeted; we climbed four spots to number eight on the list of the Top 100 landscape companies in the country; and we contributed over a half million dollars to charitable causes. As leaders within the organization, it is up to us to continuously strive for excellence by remaining focused on and committed to the development of our people and better serving our customers.

There is room for us to take ownership and improve our leadership abilities in many areas, including:

  • Lead by example: If you expect your direct reports to be timely and responsive, then they have a right to expect the same from you. Leading by example is a much more efficient management style than a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality.
  • Own your mistakes: As we empower our people to take responsibility and make their own decisions, this will inevitably lead to some mistakes. Treat each mistake as a teaching moment so that both you and your direct reports can learn from it.
  • Get to know your team on a personal level: Find out what challenges they might be facing at home that keeps them from excelling at work, and see if there is anything we can do to help them. The return on investment is a much more loyal employee.
  • Don’t be afraid to have the tough conversations: Regular evaluations are a critical tool for both managers and their direct reports. It’s an opportunity to identify traits and tendencies that might be acting as a roadblock in their career. By addressing these openly and honestly, you are providing them with an opportunity to prove themselves and grow professionally.
  • Recognize hard work and accomplishments: Acknowledge your team’s efforts and take the time to recognize individuals, whether with a note, a bonus, or even a simple “well done.”

We have significant goals that we’ve set for our company in the coming years and we’re currently working on creating our next Five-Year Plan that will cover 2021-2025. First, we review our mission, vision and values – these things aren’t going to change. Our number one value is always our people, and our mission is to provide opportunity for them to achieve their personal and professional goals through the company’s growth. Next, we analyze the state of our industry, evaluate the current state of the company and set goals and create projections about where we want to be and how we’re going to get there in the future.  Our goal as a company is to double our revenue within the next 10 years—which means doubling the size of our team as well. This will enable us to fulfill our mission by providing plenty of opportunity for advancement throughout the company, but also requires us to continue to work hard at growing and developing our next generation of leaders. Please do your part to grow your team and get them ready for that next step up when it arrives, so that we can continue to promote from within. It’s our incremental improvement in many areas and the understanding that we all rise together that will continue to propel us forward and make our Ruppert family stronger.