October 15, 2017
Paul Brydges
LO President

Paul BrydgesSince I can no longer deny the Acer rubrum are turning red, it must be fall. With the many schedule changes required this season to get ourselves and our contractor teams through the challenges of the wettest year in recent history, I am not really sure if the typical fall rush will feel any different from the rest of the year. Dependence on weather meant scheduled work did not necessarily come first for anyone, but rather which site was dry enough to work on.

I have always believed communication is the strongest tool we have within a company. A year as trying as this one has proven this from a client perspective many times over. When poor weather held things up, those contractors who were brave or more experienced were able to get out in front of client expectations much calmer than perhaps some of the younger contracting teams out there.

It has been many years since I have heard so many people not understand what a day, or even a week of rain does to a construction schedule. It’s another example of how much further removed society is from our agrarian roots.

I attended a traditional plowing match held at my in-laws’ farm on Labour Day weekend. I saw many neighbours we see but once a year, and it was refreshing to hear discussions about weather that really had meaning behind them. Discussions on how far behind haying was, where the corn was in relation to the calendar, and what the water level in the Great Lakes meant for the coming winter.... I don’t even want to tell you the consensus on that last one!

With the steady growth we are seeing in Landscape Ontario membership, I know this fall and winter will realize record numbers of attendance for courses and continuing education. Employers are realizing what a valuable asset staff are, and see the benefit of having staff who are better trained and more engaged.

The more training I send my staff to, the more confident they become in their own abilities — which also enables them to raise the bar for me and my learning requirements. Not that I need to be one step ahead of them on every subject, but I do need to understand the basics of what they are learning and trying to explain to me.

This additional training benefits all staff and also opens up new opportunities for the company to branch out into other areas of practice. These opportunities always require continued learning, but they also keep us sharp and on the lookout for new materials and new solutions. This is likely the reason why so many of us at LO have our own businesses. We are always looking for new ways to create: whether it’s new maintenance routines, construction techniques or design compilations.

I hope that Mother Nature finishes the year for all of us far kinder than it started.
Paul Brydges may be reached at paulbrydges.la@sympatico.ca.