Business Buzzword or Business Gamechanger

by ConnectLA

When one hears about how good workplace culture is, it often conjures up images of ping pong tables, lounging on beanbag chairs drinking espresso. Being in the business for 30 years and 17 years as a business owner, I have seen trends in workplace culture come and go and have found that the latest and greatest ideas are often presented as a buzzword without defining what this means. Culture is often misinterpreted as the work-life balance and providing the props and activities to socialize or oppositely, contrasted with how much you are expected to work as a valued team member.

The concept of culture in our business was still a misnomer for me. I wasn’t convinced we had clearly defined it or how we could measure if it was good or not. When we embarked on our turnaround in early 2020, we knew we needed clarity around our culture. I am so glad we did. Little did I know that it would be one of the most significant factors in the success of our business.

Culture will form in your business whether you want it to or not. It is very powerful to clearly understand what you want your culture to be and truly define and live it daily. We had many conversations and focussed on what we always envisioned. We anchored it back to our name, Connect, rather than pinning it on an event, like pizza on Fridays. We re-established the culture of connection to each other, our clients, our community, the environment, and our creative craft. We believe that our strength is in our people, and the passion for our craft drives our success. This focus on these connections drives a sense of engagement from our team.

We use strategies to drive connection (and hence engagement) based primarily on clear and consistent communication. We have monthly 1:1 meetings where each team member meets with their champion to support their development and growth. We have Monday morning team meetings where we review the progress of our strategic plan and share our wins from the week past. We have a bi-annual formalized review process that is goal-driven; and a bi-annual engagement survey where we ask for feedback on what we are doing well and where we can do better. We have a defined culture statement – a clear and concise description of how we define our culture, as a visual graphic on the wall in our office for all to see.

My advice is not to overlook the importance of culture in business success. Take time to define it and then develop strategies to implement and measure it. Leadership is still at the core of a strong business; combined with engagement will drive results in your industry. 

If you would like to read more about the steps we have taken to drive the strongest business results we have had in our 30 plus years (even during a pandemic), click here.


Connect LA is a full-service landscape architecture firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Over 35 years of award-winning success make us a recognized leader in the design and transformation of healthy, vibrant communities. Our diverse portfolio in planning, design and creation of livable places for people is exemplified by our passion for landscape, love for our craft, and through our vision – to connect people to nature through meaningful design.

WRITTEN by Ken Larsson


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