When Steven Johns started mowing lawns at the age of 12, he never imagined the summer job would grow into an entire lawn care company. Four years later, he hired another person part-time. By his senior year of high school, Steven had taken enough classes that he could leave by 1:00 p.m. every afternoon to work.
Back then, Steven mowed up and down his street, enjoying the freedom that earning money afforded him. His wife, Erika, joined the team in 2013, and today Envisioning Green is a husband-and-wife-owned, boutique-style landscape construction and maintenance company being featured in a business book.
I first met the couple while speaking at an event. I instantly connected with their gregariousness, love of life, and desire to learn and grow their business, but it wasn’t until some years later that I visited their operation and my suspicions were confirmed.
You can often judge the success of a company by the style and substance of its leaders, and it was easy to see that Envisioning Green is a stand out company in what is often a tired and uninspired green business. The difference? Both Erika and Steven understand the power of clarity in their company: “Clarity to us is like success,” they agree. They know that you don’t really get one without the other.
However, the couple also knows that it is not something you ever really achieve. Clarity is an ongoing process: “Just because you’ve achieved it today doesn’t mean that it’s going to be as clear tomorrow. You must always be striving for clarity in what you do and how you speak to your team.” This doesn’t make the effort futile by any means; it just makes your efforts all the more important. Even if perfect clarity may never really be achieved, the owners of Envisioning Green still believe that a certain level of it can be maintained.
“You know you’ve achieved clarity when the systems you’ve put in place work without needing our direct assistance. And when the decisions that your team makes are filtered through the same filters and four values we built our business on, we know we’ve been successful.” This can require a certain amount of creativity because the Johnses recognize that clarity for one person may not be the same for another. It is obvious that they value their employees as individuals, rather than simply a means to an end.
The Best Part of Your Day
They place the same value on everyone they encounter: “One thing we always say is ‘Be the best part of everyone’s day’ and it’s awesome when someone takes that to heart.” This principle is also evident in the other key elements of their founding beliefs.
While most companies adhere to the 80/20 rule, Envisioning Green tries to include the whole team in the training process, rather than most of the training being done by a small portion of the staff. ALL of the staff should have the same enthusiasm as a…