I have grown to love a new hobby… For some people, when they get home from work, they love to watch sports, for some its Bill O’Reily on Fox News (well, I do love that too), for others it is running and jogging in 105 degree heat – For me it has become yard work. I never thought that I would be one to love working in the yard – specifically picking weeds, trimming hedges, and cutting grass – but the opposite it true… I love it.
I love 2 things about it the most:
1) I love that I can see the final product in a matter of a few hours after I get started. When I walk out in the yard, the grass maybe high, the bushed may be out of whack, and the weeds may be taking over my beds, but in a few hours I an sit with a sweet tea on the back porch and enjoy the fruits of my labor. This is something that I do not experience daily in my work – as I work on projects that hopefully impact lives and I may never see the full fruit of the labor – so I do enjoy seeing it in the yard…Instantly.
2) The other thing that I love is that it gives me a lot of time to think and reflect. I do not listen to an iPod or a radio while working all day in the yard, instead I use the time to think. Recently the thinking has lead me to actually learn something really great from nothing more than a rose bush.
My favorite bushes in my yard are my rose bushes – they make the yard look absolutely incredible, but not until I learned how to care for them. Someone recently told me that as soon as a bud/flower dies, then you need to cut it back and let it grow again – and if you do, it will grow back more and more and will be brighter and brighter. I went home after hearing this and put it into practice… literally a week later after cutting back all of the bead blooms, the yard looked 100 times better.
It made me think about leadership. A lot of times we let an idea, a vision, or a dream blossom and then we never prune back the parts that are dying to allow for it to produce more and more. Notice one thing – I never cut the rose bush at the base, killed it, and then hoped it grew back. What I did do it cut back one limb, one bud, one dead part.
I think we need to do this in our organizations and even in our personal lives. I think that we tend to grow something and then once it blossoms we want the whole thing to remain the same. We want things to continue the way that they are – But we need to realize that we only need to keep what is actually still blossoming. We need to be able to remove things from our work, or lives, and our organizations that are dying and no longer working.
I think when we do this we will see that what comes in return of what we cut will blossom much better, it will be much more full, and much more colorful.
What do you need to prune back in your life or organization? What have you pruned back before and what was the thing that blossomed in its place?