The Foundation of Integration is Business Culture 

 August 31, 2023

By  Steve Nunn

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We have blogged in the past about the integration approach used by Groundworks. In this blog, we dig a little deeper into the culture of this business, and how their values and practices align with their goals.

In June 2019, we admired Groundworks’ stated objective “to become the USA’s first nationwide building foundation services company”, and how they were purposely addressing one of the most important issues with integration: their people. Four years have passed, and what we could see as a positive trend in their acquisition and integration of businesses across the nation, has become a resounding success.


Their acquisitions use an integration approach we describe in our training and certification as Leave Autonomous.  It is characterized by a planned period of separation, giving both businesses time to become comfortable with their relationship and to plan whether, what, how and when to integrate. In this method, one of the decisions usually delayed is branding.  Groundworks’ branding strategy is to retain the business name that built their local reputation, while providing an umbrella of strategic investment in leadership and staff training, to support operational strategies.

Groundworks has fostered and sustained a positive business culture through constant training, good paying jobs, and the opportunity for a profession rather than just a job. In a podcast interview with Jocko Willink, Groundworks CEO Matt Malone delivers a strong message about the culture of his company as a unifying value that informs all the other decisions. Malone explains how Groundworks aims to change the narrative that a college education is the only way to have a career and earn enough to have a home and raise a family. He urges listeners to notice the decline of the blue-collar workforce as a matter of national security and encourages us to appreciate those who with their hands protect the average person’s biggest investment: their home.

Malone describes the notion of on-the-job training as a “lazy” approach to staff development. In the Jocko Willink podcast, he explains the value of a uniform training plan, how Groundworks offers every opportunity – and rewards those who take full advantage.  Their employees can ascend to leadership by putting in the effort, the company truly advocates meritocracy.

One key factor in Groundworks’ success is investing in leadership training. Managers go through a “Muster” and either embrace the military-styled decentralized operations or are weeded out. They call it “walking in the light and living with a servant’s heart”.  They serve the customer and leaders serve each other.  Their successful strategy is making millionaires of men and women who’ve never gone to college.   A culture of ownership and high-quality service applies as much within, as it does to the clientele; the leaders hold themselves to those same standards.

Groundworks’ integration goals are centered around key elements of a great business culture:

  • retaining the brand
  • consistent well-planned training
  • rewarding those who demonstrate ownership and problem-solving attitudes

This approach guards their most essential resource: their employees. In a concrete and figurative way, they have taken their objectives and used them as their foundation. While they build a world-class service company, they keep a happy customer as their ultimate goal. We at Intista are inspired by the study of successful companies who value integration and training.


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