How to Pull Weeds Less and Grow Fruit More
You’ve been working to make a difference but every weed you pull is replaced by three more. Worse yet, new weeds seem more malicious than old.
If you aren’t careful, you’ll end up being a weed-puller. But leadership includes growing fruit. This year is half over. What if you spent the last six months pulling weeds, but there’s no fruit in the garden?
Glad it’s over:
Leadership is more than gritting your teeth and waiting for complexity and difficulty to pass.
You might think, “I’ll be glad when this is over,” but that thinking devalues the drive and effort it takes to grow fruit during difficulty and turbulence.
A long-time coaching client sent me his half-year assesment form that he uses for himself and his team. It reminded me that reflecting, assessing, and refocusing are necessary, even in turbulence.
Don’t tolerate lack of focus because times are turbulent and the best you can do is pull the next weed.
Halftime – 6-month checkup:
#1. List five wins during the first half of the year.
#2. In what area did you make the most progress?
#3. In what area did you lose momentum?
#4. What could you do to generate new momentum where momentum has slowed?
#5. What practice has served you well in the first 6-months of this year?
#6. What new practice will serve you well in the second half of this year?
#7. What is one thing, if it happened in the second half of this year, that would make your year a major success? (Think of things within your control.)
Time to reflect and refocus protects you from blindly pulling the next weed. Next-thinging isn’t leadership.
It’s most useful to lift your head out of the weeds when you’re surrounded by weeds.
How might leaders lift their heads out of the weeds?
Spend more time with customers observing them and asking questions. What do they really need and want?
What can you do to change your process so weeds disappear?
What is the root cause problem that produces the weeds? Do you need to change one of the company values, your strategy, some people, or policies and or processes?
Thanks Paul. Your suggestions begin in the right place. Sometimes when we’re neck deep in weeds, we forget wht we’re really doing. … serving customers.
Thanks for another inspirational metaphor Dan.
To me it is waste of time and energy to search for the one game changing solution against weeds. To stay in the gardening picture:
1. Weeds come by nature. One cannot hope to root up all.
2. Weeds tend to hide growing flowers close to bloom and veggie to feed the organization. Leaders need to find and cultivate these.
3. When you feel surrounded by weeds change perspective – search for flowers to make them thrive.
Thanks Dirk. Brilliant. It’s true. We waste time looking for a perfect answer when an imperfect solution helps us move forward and learn.
Thank you, another excellent blog & I agree, the time is ripe for reflection.
Just a thought, a weed is a flower in the wrong place – perhaps rather than “weeding” we support the weed to transplant?
Thanks, Dan for sharing thoughts on the importance of reflection and self-accountability. The questions included in your example of a half-year assessment are great reflection starters. The next questions to ask yourself are what are the micro-goals to accomplish each week to make real change.
When I pull weeds in my garden, it helps me to fully see and appreciate the fruits. This is the same for my work. When I “pull weeds” (deal with problems, handle employee issues, etc) it reminds me not to take for granted the fruits (days when all goes smoothly, employees that do a great job and get along).Thanks for the analogy, it puts a new perspective on “pulling weeds”.