“In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
Psychologists will tell you that if the pandemic has done one thing consistently, it’s exacerbated pre-existing troubles and conditions. Economists speak similarly, saying the pandemic accelerated existing societal trends. As a Landscape Architect, I would characterize the past 18 months as a time of intense transition, a process, a becoming. Being in the business for over 30 years, moments for collective inquiry and organizational restructuring were few and far between. Landscape Architecture is a profession more closely related to offering a design service towards finding client solutions. We rarely reflect on our trajectory as a business, but the pandemic allowed space and time for deeper reflection.
During liminal periods, things as we know them often dissolve and become reinvented. For us, the pandemic became a time for a directional shift within our company. We pinpointed aspects that required change and identified practices that needed to be eliminated through a series of honest conversations with staff and partners. Despite the difficulty in those conversations, the outcomes were inherently positive. In effect, this was an opportunity to reset our business foundation and lean into our core values and brand promises as an organization.
Responding to this crisis was a defining leadership moment for me and forced me to manage the energy and direction of the company with a fresh perspective. Out of the personal reflection and challenging conversations came actions necessary for our pivot:
- We hired a business strategist who brought us new insights and equipped us with the tools necessary for strategic restructuring, including a formal business and marketing plan.
- We hired a team of positive people who brought forth a great wave of optimism and creativity.
- We implemented weekly leadership meetings with strategic initiatives to keep us accountable for our goals.
Weekly and monthly check-ins keep the lines of communication open and transparent.
I am a big believer in paying it forward, and as a business owner (and not just a landscape architect), I am inspired to share our learnings so others can benefit from our experience. Over the next several months, I will share the steps we took that enabled us to achieve success and create new opportunities for our business despite the adverse global economic climate.
ABOUT CONNECT LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
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
ART WORK by Mindi Wang