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When Hutten & Co was established way back in 2000, we had many good days — but plenty of challenges too. We did our best to learn from our mistakes by trying different angles and soldiering on! It was a costly approach at times, but made for some unforgettable lessons.

As our team grew the problems didn’t necessarily get bigger… we just had different problems. We knew we needed a new approach — one that would involve the whole team.

While we were at a conference soaking up more lessons on business, finance and job costing — the exciting stuff — we had our lightbulb moment! One of the speakers launched into a presentation on company culture, a concept we hadn’t considered or heard of before. 

He talked of a culture built around shared values and a strong vision. About developing talent with clarity and exceptional process. A culture where problems are solved by all of the talented people on the team. 

We were hooked. We immediately hired that speaker — Jeffrey Scott, author of the great book Become a Destination Company — as our business coach and mentor, and began an exciting and transformational  journey.

Crew members helping each other install landscape bricks.

What is a destination company?

People want a satisfying career full of meaning and purpose. A destination company becomes just that — a place that draws you in by its philosophy and goals. It’s something that you want to be part of, to contribute to, and to share in. It’s not only a physically attractive place, but also a place where the culture is alive. It’s a tight knit group of people who believe in the same things and want to help each other while doing amazing things for their customers.

By creating a culture that fulfills their employees’ passions, pride and spirit, a destination company becomes more than just a place to work… it becomes a place where talented employees are invested in the success of the company and everyone has an opportunity to grow, learn and succeed!

In his book, Jeffrey shares the seven pillars a company needs to address to build a successful company. In this post, you’ll see how Hutten & Co. embraces these pillars to attract (and retain!) top talent.

1. Create an active vision

Vision. Mission. Strategy. Sounds like a “set it and forget it” plan, you might think. We get it — these terms can be confusing. That’s why we hang big posters on our shop and office walls, bring our goals and vision into regular company meetings, and celebrate success with frequent company events. Every year we include our team when refining our goals for the future, making our vision an active part of our culture.

Here at Hutten & Co., our exciting vision imagines a better future. We imagine how lives and people change while we connect them with nature — and each other — by shaping their outdoors into amazing spaces where they can live, work and play in harmony. 

It’s a vision that each employee rallies behind, and is embodied in our customer service guarantee, known as The Hutten Way.

2. Establish a culture of excellence

It’s been said that anything worth doing, is worth doing well… right down to the smallest of details. Holding ourselves and each other to higher standards speaks to an exciting career showing our core values in action:

  • To have the passion to give it all you’ve got
  • To be optimistic and work with enthusiasm
  • To build relationships and exceed expectations
  • To lead with expertise and knowledge

These values are not just empty words. They’re a code of conduct that we follow and practice every day, so when a problem does arise, we rise to the challenge as a team, learn from our mistakes and make it right — strengthening the abilities of each employee and our reputation for excellence.

3. Always be looking for talent

To grow a business, most marketing efforts and resources are geared toward attracting new clients and customers. Seems logical… after all, a business needs customers!

But as a destination company, an equal amount of time (and budget) must be used to attract talented and passionate people to join the team, in a compelling but authentic way. This is especially true in an industry like ours, where we sometimes face strenuous weather conditions, battle treacherous waters and face complex design challenges. It’s not just about hard work though, there are plenty of rewards in our industry too! 

At Hutten & Co., we’re always looking for talented creators with a thirst for adventure and a desire to shape the rugged landscape into beautiful and functional outdoor spaces.

4. Choose people based on their values and character

Developing the core values at Hutten & Co may have been one of the more distinguishing turning points in the development of our team. The best employees are not necessarily those with the most skills…but those who are aligned together with us on our values of character. This spins off into a happy workplace, an engaged team, and most importantly - a customer who notices, and has an experience beyond expectations. 

The truth is, it’s not always easy to find people with the exact skills you’re looking for, so at our team, you’ll find people from different fields and walks of life. We’re thrilled to be able to choose those who share our values and then bring them into our training program to grow and learn!

5. Invest in people before systems

At its core, a destination company is a teaching company, and at Hutten & Co. we strive to be the “Harvard” of the landscaping industry! 

We give our employees all the support and opportunities they need to learn and grow, and we have clearly defined career paths they can follow as they build out their career. We meet frequently together, share information, and provide tools to continue excelling.

(You can see Matt’s journey here)

6. Empower employees through shared leadership

We believe that every member of our team has their own unique talent. Those talents are used to develop incredible projects! We want to see people on our team fulfill their role with a certain amount of autonomy - after all, creativity comes in so many forms and the best approach isn’t always the one you might expect!! 

When our team generates their own ideas to improve their jobs and the customer experience, the ideas take hold, and implementation becomes so much easier.  We develop our employees’ leadership skills through specific training, but ultimately by showing them trust and giving them the opportunity to lead where they deserve.

7. Create an ownership culture

To build a strong company, you need to build a culture where all the employees are aligned and pulling in the same direction. We do that first by our company’s core values, and our vision. But to get to the next level, we imagine a company where everyone is comfortable thinking like owners. 

Here at Hutten & Co., we do that by embracing open book management. This style of management gives team members access to specific company financial information and metrics so they’re able to understand how their work impacts the company and our profits — and how they share in those profits when they complete jobs on time and on budget.

The beauty of open book management is - there’s no hiding! Complete transparency ultimately leads to improved trust, and a better understanding of business economics. Trusted, talented people solve problems together, and by shared leadership, experience the satisfaction of improving and growing together.

Why work with us?

By putting the time and effort into building a destination company we’ve created a culture where happy teamwork becomes the norm. We see teams who put their heart and soul into what they do, and it shows in the care they put into every single task — from building massive landscapes to perfectly edging your lawn, and everything in between. 

As a company, we’re far from perfect. It’s an incredible journey growing together with a skilled team, embracing our mistakes together, and finding improvements everyday. It’s a great challenge, and one that will never go away. We’re proud of the team that we can work with today, and look forward to seeing them continue to grow, and share their gifts with others into the future! 

If you’d like to learn more about our services, feel free to book a meeting so we can get to know each other — and you can see for yourself the benefits of working with a destination company.