January 29, 2019
By Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager

Jacki HartIf you were at Congress last month, you were in good company! Over 15,000 industry professionals and students attended this year’s trade show, conference and special events. At Congress, hopefully you stopped by the Peer to Peer lounge in the Landscape Ontario booth to learn more about our mentoring and support program for LO member business owners. If you didn’t get the chance, I will provide an update below on what you are missing out on.

Landscape Ontario’s Peer to Peer Network is now in its fifth year. This active group of business owners and managers connect on social media, and at solutions-focused networking sessions throughout the province each year. LO’s Peer to Peer Facebook and Linked In groups are closed to the public. You have to be a member to join and participate in the conversations. Once a member of the group (to join, simply email signup.peertopeer@landscapeontario.com if you’re an LO member), you’ll have access to a network of over 100 of your business-minded, entrepreneurial peers. You can then ask your peers any question you like, and receive genuine support and experienced answers from those who may have already faced the very same challenge. The resources, tricks and ideas shared online are amazing and informative.

In the past few weeks, peer group members have collaborated and shared answers and opinions on topics such as: methods for pre-screening job applicants, workplace violence policies, recommendations requested for collections agencies, and more. Got a question? Post it online and your peers with relevant experience will chime in to support you. It’s awesome.

LO’s peer group also runs six, full-day events each year — four in the winter months, plus a two-day event each fall. Our networking events are facilitated discussions on topics chosen by the group each year. The remaining events for this year are listed below and can also be found online at HortTrades.com/p2p.

Following our annual gathering at Congress, members of the group met on Jan. 24 in Ottawa to discuss Company Culture: The Future of Team Engagement. As lead facilitator and manager of LO’s Peer to Peer Network, I was joined by guest facilitator, Steve Dines, a team engagement consultant and expert.

At this session, we tackled the members’ top priority for 2019: improving and managing the culture within their companies, focusing on the path to engagement and retention. In this interactive, ‘roll-up your sleeves’ workshop, we discussed the art of articulating and entrenching a clear company attitude system. We focused on the current reality of the labour market, i.e. what employees want from their job and team. Our members left this workshop with improved clarity, new tools and renewed energy heading into hiring season.

I invite you to join us this month, on Feb. 13 in London, Ont., at our next event, Developing a Culture of Safety and Wellness. The workshop will focus on how to implement cutting-edge trends for connecting with your team, and how to develop a collaborative balance between the needs of the company, and the needs of its employees. Join us for this day of brainstorming, centred around the new pressures on business owners to adapt their HR management concepts and schedules to fit with different attitudes toward work, wellness and safety. There will also be a presentation from Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) on mental health in the workplace as a part of this full-day session.

On March 12, we will meet in Ajax, Ont., to discuss the challenge of Implementing Systems. This will be a solution-based workshop where participants will work in discussion groups, to dive into a case study to determine what systems are needed for a fictitious company. Participants will focus on developing and implementing systems to improve results and consistent team engagement. The case study discussions will involve learning to:
  1. Evaluate what you have (cross-check with a draft best practices list).
  2. Identify what’s working now.
  3. Determine what is missing.
  4. Develop a list of systems initiatives (ownership, milestones, implementation plan/outcomes).
  5. Discuss the steps required to communicate, implement and sustain new systems.

Later this fall, when it’s time to come up for air amid a busy season, our group will gather once again to focus working on their business before the rest of the year slips through their fingers. Our fall summit, to be held Sept. 19-20 in Muskoka, has become a welcome business retreat for peer members who are ready for a change in business routine.

On day one of the summit, we will tackle the topics of Scalable Growth and the Psychological Impact of Growth on the Leaders in your company. We will also look at the ever-elusive and intimidating topic of Financials. On day two, our workshop will help you to gain confidence understanding what your financials are telling you. We will discuss the finer points of what to look for, and what to do about the things you may discover.

All of our Peer to Peer Network sessions are interactive, engaging discussions and solution-based (rather than complaint based) effective round-tables and collaborative solutions to real-time challenges. I invite you to join today.
Jacki Hart may be reached at info.peertopeer@landscapeontario.com.