The Strategic Plan

by ConnectLA

My last two posts focused on a mindset shift – seeing us as entrepreneurs rather than Landscape Architects who run a business. If you have not yet had a chance to read those previous blogs, I encourage you to read them here and then come back and read this.

Today I want to share the mechanics of how we developed and executed a strategy to refocus our business at an astonishing pace. We have produced and executed 5-year plans in the past and have learned that successful strategies don’t have to be complicated. The simpler the strategic plan, the more likely it will be implemented and absorbed and the less likely it will end up sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Integral to this success is getting the leadership team on the same page. Your team will not find success without a collective ‘buy-in’ to the overall vision.

To break it down, the best strategy has two main components – the WHAT (the goal) and the HOW (the method and strategy used to achieve the goal). I have spent a large chunk of my business life immersed in the HOW and the WHY, but have never been clear on the WHAT. We were never very clear on where we were going, but when my team and I pressed the collective reset, we focussed extensively on defining the WHAT. Once we had clarity of direction, we began reverse engineering our HOW. 

A significant key in our success was setting an interim and achievable six-month reset. We needed to re-establish a strategic discipline and accountability culture within the leadership group. Setting the WHAT at six months and achieving this goal demonstrated that we could stay the course, work as a team, and hit our strategic target. We gave ourselves the strategic win and the confidence to build out the next strategic plan within a length of one year, and we also achieved that!

My advice on setting a strategic course is to define your WHAT first, then focus on your HOW with the essential steps necessary to reach your goal. Set a short-term WHAT if your organization is not yet in a strategic mindset and give yourself the simple win. Within any best plan, you will hit obstacles along the way, and your path will /could take different routes to get to your goal. The key is to adjust and pivot on the fly yet stay focussed on the larger goal. Success breeds success, and you’ll be amazed at how effective and easy strategic planning and execution can be.


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


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