May 15, 2009

By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners program manager

Jacki HartWe are all riding an unprecedented wave of rapid change, which influences every part of our personal and professional world. Humour me, and think back for a moment to 1994. Seriously, just pause here for a moment: Fifteen years ago, what was a day in your life like? How did you spend your time? Where did you live? What technology did you use in your work/school and home life?

I remember that you could tell who did and didn’t have a cell phone in his car, because there was an external antennae stuck to the window if there was a phone. There were no wireless phones and no pocket cell phones. There were no blackberries, no iPhones, no texting, blogs, forums nor FaceBook. Google was a weird fad-thing for techies. There were very few homes with Internet, and the few who had it, thought dial-up was lightning fast. Since 1994, we’ve also had countless technological advances in our workplaces. Software now exists that enables us to manage just about every aspect of our businesses with less paperwork, fewer labour hours, more efficiency and computer driven systems that provide customized  results.

With technology in mind, the Prosperity Partners program is forging ahead into its next development phase. Before the snow flies this fall (we hope WAY earlier if resources permit), we are going to develop a Prosperity Forum. This Forum will create an online community of mentors, specialists and business owners who network to share solutions to real-time business challenges. This is an exciting idea – and the Prosperity Committee (chair, Bob Tubby CLP, Gerald Boot CLP, Hank Gelderman CHT, Sally Harvey CLP, Michael Van Dongen, Kevin Ford) are so excited to be bringing our business owners together with a timely method of finding answers relevant to their businesses. I’ll keep you posted.

In this month’s Prosperity feature is  Wright Landscape Services and Wright Lawn Care. They share how the Prosperity Partners program has helped make better sense of managing business priorities. Owner David Wright LA, has gone through the challenging process of transition from one generation to the next, and has succeeded his father, John, in the business.

John started Wright Lawn Spray in 1967. It evolved over the years into Wright Landscape Services and Wright Lawn Care, offering a range of services across several divisions, including design/build, grounds maintenance, snow and ice management, tree care and lawn care. The service area covers the Waterloo region with some work in Guelph, Elora and Fergus. Staff size hovers around 20 year-round.

Q. What is your company vision (what are you ultimately creating)?

A. My vision of the company to is have the ability and capacity through internal staff and a network of subcontractors to provide any outdoor services required on residential and commercial properties. Our specialty would be high-end residential design-build and high-end commercial maintenance.

Q. What are the core values that are ‘non negotiable’ in your every  day business dealings?

A. Integrity, professionalism and prosperity.

Q. What are the things that keep you awake at night most often?

A. Certainly the administrative part of the business gives me the most stress, but HR is a headache that I would avoid if given the chance.  Administration is only stressful, because it can be so overwhelming and complicated, but breaking it down into smaller manageable pieces gets me through it. The headache with HR is the sometimes dysfunctional interaction between employees that has to be ironed out so that everything else can run smoothly.

Q. What stuck with you the most from the Prosperity Partners introductory seminar?

A. The idea of concentrating on what you are good at instead of spending too much time on the things you’re not good at. Find people with talents you don’t have to do the jobs you’re not good at.

Q. How have you been able to apply the things you learned to improve your business?

A. It is a slow process, but focusing on what is best for the growth of the company and consciously thinking about work/life balance has begun to improve my business.

Q. What are your ‘next steps’ to improve your business, and did the program help you to clarify what they are?

A. Constant re-evaluation of gaps in the business, and reviewing, identifying and implementing best practices will move my company forward.  The next step in the Prosperity Partnership best practices seminar is the next step for me. I will make that seminar a part of my winter schedule.

Join me next month to learn about the plan for NEW Prosperity partners programs for you next winter: Building prosperous businesses – one at a time.

Remember…. Keep your rubber on the road, and ask for help if you need it to guide you through this season –

Jacki Hart may be reached at