BONE Structure: Whistle while you work

Marc-André Bovet dreamt up a ritual for his employees to spark
their curiosity and help them see things differently.

Annie Bourque | Journalist

In Laval since 2005, BONE Structure has developed a management philosophy that’s very much its own. The company’s president, Marc-André Bovet, is a fast-talking, charismatic leader. He refers to the 55 people working under him as partners.

“Everyone at the company shares 5 values: respect, transparency, loyalty, safety and FUN. People don’t come to BONE Structure to work, they’re here to play. When I think of the word work, I think manual labour.” Bovet sees his staff as a sort of team of professional athletes who are having a blast together.

15 minutes of discovery

Every morning, team members take part in a ritual. First, they must do something that’s totally unrelated to their job. “All of us take the first 15 minutes of the day to read an article, or talk about something we did the day before. It’s a moment we set aside for learning, discovering and sharing our ideas with one another,” explains Bovet convincingly.

Come 10 a.m., it’s break o’clock. “Scrum time. Everyone forms a circle and has 30 seconds to say what they’re working on. We’re like a rugby team. In a company, you’re not accountable to yourself alone, there’s also the rest of the organization to consider.”

A culture of curiosity

Bovet loves to surround himself with people who are passionate, curious and creative. He’s doesn’t necessarily recruit people who are obsessed with work; he’s on the lookout for women and men who exercise, love to cook or volunteer. “Sometimes, genius strikes when you’re doing something you love outside work,” he tells us.

The president encourages his employees to cultivate their curiosity. “The older you get, the more important it becomes to observe the world around you. When do you ask yourself the question why? That very simple question can get you doing things differently and shake you out of autopilot mode. The more whys, the merrier!”

Team pride

Marc-André Bovet’s company has a foothold in 9 of the country’s 10 provinces. His team has developed a lightweight steel framing system that allows for home and commercial building construction using a single tool. This innovative technology, known as BONE Structure, is patented in 42 countries.

After 10 years in business, Bovet is proud to say that the people on his journey deny the existence of the hackneyed mantra “we’ve always done it this way.”

When breaking ground on a worksite, Marc-André tries to bring different partners into the cities he’s working in, like Toronto and Calgary most recently. Once on-site, they experience the magic that is the unveiling of a new building or home. “Not long ago, we were at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Over the weekend, we had over 2,075 visitors.”

“The team members who were on hand were so happy to hear the positive feedback and exclamations of excitement coming from the visitors. A lot of them came to understand that they were part of something really special—we’re changing the world of housing here.”

For Bovet, professional fulfilment is the feeling of pride that each of his team members exude from the planning stages to the finishing touches of a project. “Being happy comes from a feeling of personal accomplishment and the culmination of something you’ve done collectively.”

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