Landscape business culture: Character is destiny

Read Time

2 minutes


Kevin Kehoe


Sep 28, 2016

Landscape business culture: Character is destiny

Character determines your landscape business culture. And character starts at the top. Culture is the residue of the example set by leaders in action. In short, the character and culture of doing the right thing… even if it means making sacrifices, is a chief hallmark of high performing breakthrough companies.

Consider the following example. A company makes a purchase from a vendor with contract terms outlining performance, problem resolution and if necessary termination. At some point, the company leader decides to terminate the contract after months of using the product for reasons not only related to the vendor’s performance.

Despite the efforts of the vendor to make things right, the leader isn’t interested in resolution and opts to terminate at the same time refusing to bring the account (which unsurprisingly was past due) up to date pay for the services faithfully rendered.

Actions Speak Louder

We can probably guess that this action is a pattern of behavior not a one-off event. Regardless of contract language parsed by lawyers, this of course is not the right thing to do. The leader has set a clear example about how to treat vendors.  And smart employees know they will likely be treated this way too at some point.

What is the likely result? A culture defined by a character of expediency, fear and mistrust.

Breakthrough companies develop character when leadership does the right thing (regardless of how painful). This sends a message of fair play and honesty in work and relationships. The authors of the Breakthrough Company suggest that… Nice guys actually do finish first.

Dignity Is Key

Dignity in relationships is the product of good character and promotes an atmosphere of trust where ordinary people are happy to do extraordinary things.

Dignity simply practiced is:

1. Set your standards high.

2. Provide feedback when needed and praise when warranted.

3. Listen to people and include them in decisions.

4. Follow through on your word. That’s dignity… and people respond.

Customers and team members thrive in an atmosphere where they feel there is a fair deal.  And that environment it built by cultivating the character of your people and the culture of your landscape company.


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