March 8, 2021
Jacki Hart In January, we held our annual Landscape Ontario Peer to Peer Network leadership event via Zoom. I warmed up the attendees with a question: "What is the most influential business book you’ve read?" Here’s the reading list that resulted:
Arlene Hazzan Green: The E-Myth, by Michael E. Gerber.
Brian Cotter: Ownership Thinking, by Brad Hams.
Grant Harrison: The E-Myth Contractor, by Michael E. Gerber; Profit Works, by Alex Freytag.
Tim Oliver: Think & Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill.
George Urvari and Susan Beduhn: How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.
James Canton: The Great Game of Business, by Jack Stack.
Kara Peters: Good to Great, by Jim Collins.
Justin Siemens: Profit First, by Mike Michalowicz.
Phil Charal: C.A.R.E. Leadership, by Peter Van Stralen.
Joe Salemi: The Leadership Contract, by Vince Molinaro.
George Urvari: The 48 laws of Power, by Robet Greene and Joost Elffers.
Liana Desmarais: Surrounded by Idiots, by Thomas Erikson.
Chloe Philip: You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters, by Kate Murphy.
Heather Jerrard: The Infinite Game, by Simon Sinek; Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod; The Execution Factor, by Kim Perell; The Inward Garden, by Julie Moir Messervy; Creating Sanctuary, by Jessi Bloom; Who Moved My Cheese?, by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth Blanchard.
Laurie-Ann Stuart: Start with Why, by Simon Sinek; The Four Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss; Turn the Ship Around, by David Marquet.

The event featured an awesome panel of six successful business leaders who tackled questions about keeping their business nimble during a crisis, and how they handled the challenges of 2020. They also commented on how their businesses are now better prepared to remain nimble no matter what comes their way.

I asked our experts three questions (which you may also want to ask yourself):
  1. When the ‘non-essential’ lockdown started last spring, what was the impact on YOU, your team and your customers? How did you feel? What stressed you out the most?
  2. What leadership lessons did you learn? What leadership strengths did you personally lean on? What did you need to learn on the fly? What strengths did you need to mentor others to embrace?
  3. How have the pandemic lessons better prepared your mindset and business systems/team for the next unanticipated impactful external event?
Some of the nuggets of advice they shared included:

Scott Wentworth, Wentworth Landscapes:
“Don’t panic. When you panic, you make mistakes. Never panic.” Scott and his team were determined to not be surprised by events as they unfolded. They stripped away complexity and made things as simple as possible for staff, customers and management.

Kevin Scott, Muskoka Landscapers:
“This is a good time not to run in either direction.” Without history or context for handling the situation, Kevin and his team stuck to intentional processes for making decisions. They slowed down so that timelines weren’t a source of stress. They looked at what was best for staff, family and the business and struck a balance.

George Uvari, Oriole Landscaping:
“We, not me. We made sure everyone had a right-hand to help them. Plus, we used data to drive decisions: we stockpiled materials, reorganized storage, and acquired a few small companies who were in trouble.”

Phil Charal, Allweather Landscape:
“Back to basics. We renewed our company culture, focused on appreciation and what makes us proud. It brought everyone together with reassurance and support.”

Grant Harrison, Nextra Consulting:
“Think like an owner, not a technician and trust your staff. We worked hard to support our coaching clients to make ‘owner’ type decisions, and we trusted our own team to bring their best forward and assisted clients to pivot looking for new opportunities (ie: e-commerce).”

Joe Salemi, Landscape Ontario:
“Don’t expect everyone to run at the same speed. We made sure we connected with how others were feeling on our team. We didn’t panic and realized there was something constant about the rapid change — we found our rhythm and kept moving forward.”

The session was a great launch for the LO Peer to Peer Network’s new professional development program for 2021: The monthly Virtual Business Bites Series. The first in the 10-part series kicked off Feb. 3, when we spent an hour with Frank Bourque who discussed “Getting a High Performance Mindset.”

To register for our monthly Virtual Business Bite Series held the first Wednesday morning of each month, visit

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