Pillar # 7: Practice Blameless Problem-Solving

May 20, 2023

In my last article “Culture is Essential” (February 2023), I discussed the necessity for a positive working culture for your team and how that impacts the ability to hire and retain. In the article I referenced our Pillars of Culture and one of them in specific: “Create a tone of friendliness and Warmth.”

This happens to be number four on our list of ten. I received some positive feedback from friends in the industry on it, as well as from the team here at NHLA, and we thought it would be beneficial to offer a series of articles to discuss the other pillars.

I hope this article and those in the future help you foster a positive culture at your own company. Some may think that it’s too telling to give up some of our secrets on how we operate as a firm, but I think of it differently in two ways.

One, if more landscape companies embrace a positive working culture it creates more opportunities for the front line workers here in our local industry to work for a company that respects them, has their best interests in mind, and supports their personal growth. Two, I know it’s hard work, and only those who are dedicated will achieve it. You can have the recipe, but you need to still mix the ingredients and put it in the oven!

Pillar # 7– Practice Blameless Problem Solving:
Apply your creativity, spirit, and enthusiasm to developing solutions, rather than pointing fingers and dwelling on the problems. Identify lessons learned and use those lessons to improve your process so you don’t make the same mistake again. Get smarter with every mistake. Learn from every experience.

If you’re able to get yourself and the team working with you, to a point where when a problem arises, everyone instantly starts working on the solution rather than spending energy on whose fault it was, think how quickly the problem can be resolved! You will fix your issue quickly and avoid having those who made the mistake carry the weight of it.

We ALL make mistakes. It is inevitable. How we learn from them, grow, and move forward is the method of measuring success.

The underlying theme that will occur if you embrace this concept is that it will alleviate negative behavior in your team. When your brain operates from a solution-based platform, there isn’t any space for emotion to get in the way. This will make you and your team highly effective.

I have embraced this pillar both here at our company and in my personal life. I can tell you that it keeps me level. I have been able to train my brain to receive an issue and instantly go into “figure it out mode.” Some of you may already do this, which if so, Kudos! You’re one step ahead; now try to get the rest of your team thinking the same way, and watch both the personal growth of your team members and your company as a whole excel!

— Andrew Pelkey is chief operations officer and co-owner of North Point Outdoors. He is the current president of NHLA.