Does this gardening incident sound familiar? “My son ran over my rosebush with the lawn mower. I thought for sure it was dead! But to my amazement, it came back stronger and more vibrant than ever.” It seems like most of us have a gardening incident somewhere in our past. Aside from teaching your son to spare the shrubbery, there is a business lesson in this gardening incident, too. It’s about pruning for growth.
It’s arguable that the same vision, hard work, techniques and patience that are required to grow a vibrant garden are also required to grow a vibrant business. Just like gardening, growing a business is a blend of science, art and practice.
Altering the form and growth of your business
So how does pruning fit into running your business? It’s a practice that is integral to the ‘one great people move’ that Gino Wickman talks about in this short clip.
In the following series of articles, we’ll be unpacking the elements of making great people moves and offering some practical techniques for managing the process. And yes, we’ll be addressing the ‘alignment with core values’ topic that everyone loves so much, but in a way that shows you how to use your core values in a practical way to enhance the productivity and growth of your business.
First, let’s define the practice of pruning. The horticultural team at UMN puts it like this:
“Pruning is a horticultural practice that alters the form and growth of a plant ... pruning can also be considered preventive maintenance. Many problems may be prevented by pruning correctly …”
Swap the word ‘plant’ with ‘business’ and this definition becomes a perfect argument for the ‘why’ behind pruning in business. It’s the practice of removing culture-corrupting and non-productive people because they are hindering the growth of the organization. They negatively impact the very health of your company.
If you have found yourself keeping growth-inhibiting team members too long, you understand the downward pressure and friction they exert on your organization, not to mention the time drain impact on you and other team members. It may be unintentional on their part, but it’s still happening.
Action for this week
Make a list of team members you believe may be inhibiting the growth of your business, either by providing less than 100% productivity or by damaging your culture. The future posts in this series will give you the guidance you need to effectively evaluate the people on that list and take ‘great people move’ actions like pruning to optimize growth.