September 8, 2021
Jacki Hart Pretty much every company owner and manager in our profession knows who their solid and engaged team players are, and those who are not.

But do you know why?

The answer is most often found in the space between policies and actions. That’s where company culture is demonstrated best. It’s buried in between what is supposed to happen, and what actually happens when ‘the boss’ isn’t looking or within earshot.

This is a great time of year to really step back and assess the pulse of your company culture. Slow down and take stock. Now is the time of year when pretty much everyone on your team has been onboarded, oriented and are well into their training plans. In other words, culture should be at its most consistently demonstrated-best right now. So, how’s it going?

Last month, as part of our 10-part Business Bites Series, I had the pleasure of hosting Joe Salemi, Landscape Ontario’s Deputy Executive Director and Director of Operations, to talk to our Landscape Ontario Peer to Peer Network members on ‘Walking the Talk’ in company culture. Joe brought lots of great advice, including the trending differences between great and not-so-great company culture.

For example, if you were to take the Be/Don’t Be lists (see charts below) to each of your employees and allow them to indicate which of these settings and perceptions they experience on a daily or weekly basis, what points do you think that they would select?
don't be
Which graphic would your employees say best describes their daily or weekly experience?
Consider the importance of this for a moment, and how culture absolutely impacts the ability of your company to attract and retain good people. As Mark Bradley, CEO of LMN, might say, good people “have to be able to finish your sentences and carry your wallet.”

While your staff might not ever check off all of the great cultural ‘be’ characteristics, their list should at the very least outweigh the bad culture ‘don’t be’ scenarios. In addition, your key staff in particular can likely articulate why they selected what they did from each list.

As a business coach, I have been inside many companies, worked with many teams, and have seen the whole range from awesome culture, to horrible work settings where there is neither joy nor engagement. Based on my experience, the old adage, “the boss is the last to know” holds true most of the time. Often, the business owner has a much more positive perception of the company culture than that of the team (and sometimes the customers).

I believe it’s important to start the conversation — one on one — or anonymously if that’s the only way people will open up. But start asking for feedback, listen to it and start to challenge your status quo thinking about what it’s like to work in your company. Identify the actions, words, expressions (or lack thereof) that contribute to both the wins and losses on the healthy company culture quest.

Join us on the LO Peer to Peer Network’s next Business Bite session (Oct. 6) with Scott Wentworth — and learn how to identify your ideal client avatar. Find more details and a registration link via the LO events calendar page at

Landscape Ontario member business owners can join the LO Peer to Peer Network for free.
To participate in private online discussions, email

Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager