As a lawn care business owner, you want to minimize frustration as business picks up. And the best way to reduce or prevent chaos when business increases is to have a clear sense of purpose and direction.

The last thing you need is to be confused or uncertain about performance and whether or not your teams are meeting performance standards. The root of such problems often has to do with unclear goals and expectations. 

In this article, we’ll explore why setting clear goals and expectations is crucial for your team’s success and how you can effectively communicate them to achieve peak performance.

Understanding the Importance of Clear Goals:

We’ll talk about how to communicate goals later, but clarity is a prerequisite for effective communication. It’s also a critical success factor in goal setting.

Many lawn care business owners think their team already understands what’s expected of them. But unless the goals are clearly defined, you can’t be sure everyone is aligned. Everyone may be pushing hard but not necessarily in the right direction. Clear goals provide a roadmap for success, ensuring everyone is aligned and working towards the same objectives.

Ambiguity is the enemy:

When goals are vague or poorly communicated, it can lead to several issues:

  1. Wasted time and resources on tasks that don’t contribute to overall success
  2. Confusion and frustration among team members
  3. Inconsistent quality of work
  4. Difficulty in measuring progress and holding team members accountable

Setting clear goals eliminates such issues and creates focused, motivated teams.

How to Set Clear Goals and Expectations:

Ok, you’ve probably heard of Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound (SMART) goals before. It’s a well worn and proven method but we’re going to borrow from some alternative goal-setting frameworks to give depth to the SMART approach.


  1. Be Specific: A broad goal such as “provide great customer service” is not as effective unless you define what great customer service means for your business. Examples such as “responding to all customer inquiries within 24 hours” or “maintain a 4.5-star rating on Google Reviews” work much better.

    New wrinkle: The Sulls brothers (Donald and Charles) encourage transparency in goal setting and recommend sharing the goals of teams and/or team members. Those who use this positive peer pressure approach also find their employees help each other achieve more.


  1. Make Goals Measurable: Quantify your goals whenever possible. Instead of saying “increase revenue,” set a specific target like “increase revenue by 15% in Q3.”

    In his book, “Measure What Matters,” John Doerr writes that ambitious goals are what set businesses apart. There’s a distinct positive energy in people and organizations that push past the status quo.


  1. Ensure Goals are Achievable: To add some balance to that last point; challenge your team, but know that setting unrealistic goals can be demotivating.

    New wrinkle: In Mark Murphy’s book, “HARD Goals,” the H is for Heartfelt. He suggests making sure goals are achievable and also resonate on an emotional level. Goals that tap into the personal and organizational values of your people are a huge motivator.


  1. Make Goals Relevant: Ensure each team member’s goals align with the overall objectives of your business. This helps everyone understand how their role contributes to the big picture.

    New wrinkle: Draw on the power of value-based goals to make sure your goals are also relevant to the core values of yourself and your organization.


  1. Set Time-Bound Goals: A task without a deadline is not a goal. It doesn’t create a sense of urgency or the need to prioritize tasks. 


New wrinkle: Adam Creek uses the word Limited to speak to the value of limiting scope and duration in goal setting. Focus and adaptability increase when you introduce strategic constraints.

Communicating Goals and Expectations:

Once you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to share them effectively with your team. 

  1. Meet With Your Team: Gather your team and lay outgoals and expectations clearly. Ask and answer questions and encourage feedback to ensure everyone is on the same page.


  1. Use Written Documentation: Follow up your meeting with a written outline of goals and expectations. Make this the reference point for your team and use it to create accountability.


  1. Check in regularly: Prioritize one-on-one meetings with your team. Discuss what’s going well, provide feedback, and make changes where things aren’t going as well.


  1. Be the Leader: As a leader you set an example by embodying the goals and expectations you have for your team. Show them what it looks like to live up to the behavior and work ethic you expect from them.


Setting clear lawn care goals is a business fundamental. But keep in mind what a positive driving force it can be for a successful lawn care business. It’s a way of giving your team a roadmap for success.

As you communicate your goals, you’ll foster a motivated, focused team that consistently delivers high-quality results. As your business grows and evolves, so will your goals and expectations. Effective goal-setting, is the meta-skill that will enable you to thrive during the busy lawn care season

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