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Wednesday, September 10, 2014 02:14 PM


“The only thing that will be the same is that we always change. It’s complicated – and it’s simple.” says Terracare’s Dean Murphy about the firm that is among Lawn & Landscape magazine’s Top 100 landscape companies nationwide. Murphy spoke openly about change and the internal workings of Terracare when he was featured in a recent L&L webinar.

Embracing a culture of change will make you succeed in the future, says Murphy. One example: They blew up the company’s safety program and quit counting days without accidents. Now they reward people on the spot when they are found doing things right.

At Terracare, nothing is static. Murphy and his team did away with management reports that no one read because they were irrelevant. They also framed the new company culture when Terracare moved out from under the heavy construction umbrella of its parent company RBI. Their LIVE culture now fits who they are as a landscape maintenance company.

According to Murphy, “You can’t spend enough time on culture – it eats strategy for breakfast.”

Culture matters and you can’t spend too much time defining, cultivating and living it. It drives the trucks, how people work, how they feel about what they do and the bottom line of the company’s success.

Speaking of, Murphy can point to a wide range of company successes. Some relate to growth and typical success benchmarks – and others speak to the strength of their culture:

  • As noted, Terracare is a mainstay among the nation’s Top 100 landscape companies at No. 39.
  • In addition to its two offices in Colorado, it has 6 more locations in California and one in Utah.
  • They aspire to being a “western company,” meaning operations throughout the region west of the Mississippi River.
  • They maintain 240 million sq. ft. of landscape including 110 municipal parks.
  • All senior management people have personal coaches to help them stay focused on what’s most important.
  • Those same managers have a list of direct reports that they must meet one-on-one with every couple weeks to discuss pertinent personal development topics.
  • There are 88 staff certifications within the company.
  • Each year, 2,500 hours are spent on staff training.
  • Company volunteers maintain the Columbine Memorial on their own time – and have been doing so for years because it matters to them to serve the community.

Terracare’s current successes and future ones, in Murphy’s words, come down to “being open to what tomorrow could be. Never be at a point where you’re satisfied.”

Hear Lawn & Landscape editor Chuck Bowen interview Murphy in the archived webinar.

Register for upcoming Lawn & Landscape “Inside the Top 100” webinars:

Oct. 15 – Jerry Maldonado, Maldonado Nursery and Landscaping, San Antonio
Dec. 16 – Steve Glennon, Cagwin & Dorward, Novato, Calif.

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