February 15, 2008
How can the nine chapters in Landscape Ontario best develop and implement strategic and operational plans? That was the question that faced a roomful of about 60 LO members during the chapter planning session on Dec. 10th.

Held at LO’s head office in Milton, the day-long session, facilitated by John Butcher, generated some in-depth and creative discussions on how to improve and grow the association’s chapters. The group identified eight key performance areas: value of membership, value of involvement, internal communication, education, leadership, professionalism, marketing/branding and inclusion.

Value of membership

In this area, the group agreed that it is important to create value in membership. Success indicators in this process include: increasing retention and recruitment of members, consumer awareness of industry and an increase in attendance to chapter meetings.

In order to measure performance in creating value in membership, it was agreed to track the number of members joining, staying and leaving; track the number of hits on the website; and track the number of referrals.

Success rate indicators would include: 25 per cent increase in attendance at chapter meetings; active members achieving 25 per cent increase in education programs; a 50 per cent hike in members attending social events outside normal meetings; and increased member satisfaction.

To measure the success rate, the group listed: using a uniform sign-in sheet, and establish information to use as a history to measure against.

Internal communication

Participants defined internal communication to include both LO members and the industry. The term “pressing the flesh” was used in the description.

In measuring success, the group listed: staff actively working on each chapter’s strategic plan; one communication officer to pass information to members; communication between chapters and commodity groups; and a wheel of communication where information flowed from the spokes (chapters) to the centre (home office) and between the spokes; and that each chapter has a director of communication.


The key elements of education include, content, mentoring, relevance and perceived value.  Success in education would be determined through indicators: 100 per cent of new members mentored; 25 per cent members participate in Prosperity Partnerships; 100 per cent increase in attendance at chapter meetings; and an increase in certification programs.

Measurement of success would be through a tracking system to measure attendance.


It was felt that the key aspects of leadership are succession and professionalism.

Success indicators include: development of a formal succession plan and leadership training program at the Milton office to train board members; an attempt to attract more applicants wanting to sit on available posts on each chapter’s board than there are openings.

Measuring success in this performance area includes: presence of mentoring program and documentation, existence of scheduled courses and tracking the number of participants, with a target of 80 per cent participation; tracking number of elections, as opposed to acclamations onto the board.


Professionalism includes a focus on content, standards and development. The success indictors in this performance area includes 50 per cent increase in CLP certification and 30 per cent in other designations; installation of incentive-based credit system for attending meetings; and a program to teach members to promote their status as landscape professionals.

Methods to measure performance are: track individual and number of events attended; create an incentives program that could involve discounts on membership dues; track people who obtain certification and publicize as incentive to others.


This area focuses on communication with the consumer. Methods to measure success include: hosting one or two community-sponsored events; placing the Landscape Ontario logo on 75 per cent of members’ business vehicles within two years and to generate revenue by having members sponsor chapter meetings.

Methods of measuring performance includes: tracking compliance rates of LO logo on vehicles and storefronts; renewal forms to include option to request stickers and the number required.


The overview for this performance area states, “Inclusion has a social element and involves networking.”  Success indicators include: creating a sense of ownership through member involvement; creating an environment to promote the involvement and participation of all commodity groups in the chapter; creating criteria to promote “new blood” and ensure an overlap for succession in chapter leadership; and introduce a chapter/delegate exchange program.

Evaluating performance in this area would include tracking involvement of member companies and their employees and tracking the recruitment and retention of members.

Members voiced their opinion on what needs to happen to make the Dec. 10th session worthwhile. The list includes:
  • Having all chapters working toward a common goal
  • Real “meat and potatoes” that we can take home and apply to our chapters right away
  • A sense of community/support for all chapters, no matter what the size
  • Defining our goals
  • Clear communication
  • New and exciting ideas
  • A universal process for operating procedure
  • Networking and exchange of ideas
  • Identifying ways of getting colleagues to attend meetings and become active in the community – especially larger companies
  • Identifying the importance of strategic planning at the chapter level
  • Developing minimum standards and procedures
  • Emphasizing simplicity
  • Branding Landscape Ontario in our communities

The next step in the process involves determining the logistics and cost to implement a common tracking system. By March 1st, each of the nine chapter presidents is to submit strategic plans and feedback on the current planning template.