When they started Placemaking 4G (P4G) in 2017, Bradley Daye and Matt Thomson had a vision for reinventing the job search culture in Atlantic Canada. Unfortunately, they also had a small problem.
“We didn’t know what we were doing,” says Thomson, “We wanted to decomodify this process that we didn’t have expertise in. We were getting wins, but we knew we were going to need help to really make our vision into a reality.”
After two years of early successes, the P4G team were inspired to attend the Purpose Led Business School, where they met Laurissa Manning and Dorothy Spence of Imaginal Ventures. The experience was transformational, kicking off a working relationship that continues to this day.
“We could not describe who we are or imagine where we’d be if it weren’t for Imaginal,” says Thomson, adding that their work with Imaginal helped the P4G team learn how to accurately verbalize and describe their culture and values, as well as how to set a course for ongoing success.
Growth with purpose
Imaginal helped P4G achieve triple-digit revenue growth for three calendar years in a row, and have been instrumental in helping them plot their growth strategy during the breakout phase of their business. The P4G team consciously delayed their growth initiatives while they focused on fully establishing their core business philosophy. Once that was in place, they were ready to grow quickly and with purpose. In February of 2020, P4G had a fulltime team of three, by August of 2021, it’s a team of 12. Not many businesses were quadrupling their staff over the course of a global pandemic, and yet with Imaginal Ventures helping to guide the process it felt completely natural to P4G.
The P4G team carried out three Organizational Capacity Plans in less than a year because processes evolved so quickly. Developed with guidance and input from the team at Imaginal, these plans helped P4G to not only do more business, but to create a beautiful and unique mix of “tech and touch” – automating what they could in order to focus human intelligence and effort on the things that truly need it.
The team cites these planning sessions as one of the most rewarding experiences working with Imaginal, noting the depth and detail captured in the operational roadmap and their commitment to ensuring the P4G team’s questions are all answered during the working sessions. These roadmaps allow P4G to see their entire business growth lifecycle, and to shape their plans accordingly.
“We summarize key learnings at the end of each session, and there have been so many a-ha moments that it’s impossible to count,” says Thomson, “But in general, it’s about being more efficient and being more optimized, and the further we go on this journey with Imaginal Ventures the more right it feels.”
Bringing humanity back into Human Resources
Imaginal has helped P4G realize their vision of humanizing the world of work. They do weekly “head/heart check-ins,” asking staff what’s on their heads and in their hearts, and the company hosts regular retreats to refresh and build team chemistry.
“We somehow hacked life to create this weird system where my daily life is hanging out with 11 of the most amazing and inspiring people I know,” says Thomson, “The information, the frameworks, the processes – all of these things are entirely guided by Laurissa and the team at Imaginal Ventures. I can now succinctly say what my values and purpose in life areand I can live that purpose every day.”
Thomson describes Imaginal as employing a close, strategic approach while still encouraging the team to trust their gut intuition. He notes how the Imaginal Ventures team asks all the right questions during business coaching sessions, guiding the P4G team from a place of humility and compassion. He notes that the way his team feels as business leaders coming out of those sessions is the same way they strive to have their team members feel when they work with them – inspired, confident, and in control.
Enacting change in the community
One of the most important things Imaginal teaches is how business can act as a catalyst for change in the community and beyond. This strikes a chord with P4G in particular, as one of their founding tenants is restoring the human element to human resources.
“We’re in the business of humanity,” says Thomson, “and Nova Scotia is at a crossroads, culturally, where the status quo is not an option.” He cites the Ivany Report, a deep-reaching study of Nova Scotia’s economy indicating that the province’s resistance to change is a major factor inhibiting economic growth. Thomson notes that the long overdue rise of Black Lives Matter and similar social movements over the past year-plus have placed a new emphasis on the importance of mindfulness and inclusion in job fulfillment. As a 50% African Nova Scotian-owned company with a diverse team, P4G is a living example of the success that comes with a forward-thinking approach.
Placemaking 4G invests 60% of their profits back into the Halifax community, funding a number of projects and initiatives focused on making a positive impact. The P4G team credits Imaginal Ventures with helping them to structure their philanthropic efforts as well. “Social entrepreneurs tend to dream pretty big,” says Thomson, “One of the things the team at Imaginal Ventures has brought us is how to pare it back to a realistic approach, because you can’t be impactful if you’re not operational.”
The ongoing success and meaningful impact of P4G is a living example of what can happen when business founders choose to remain true to their purpose and vision. Imaginal Ventures is proud to help Bradley Daye, Matt Thomson, and the rest of the P4G team see their vision realized. If you want to learn how Imaginal can do the same for your business, get in touch today!