An engine is not the only useful metaphor for thinking about how to upgrade your company. For example, there’s much to be said about organizational strategies like gardening. This metaphor reminds you that you can’t force people to do what you want, but you can cultivate the environment so the majority of them grow in a particular direction.

We see that the role of a good leader is to provide the proper nutrients, protect them from pests, and prune anything that distracts from the goal. Different seasons require different strategies, and I love how this metaphor implies that the ultimate goal of leadership is to help each plant reach its full potential. This metaphor aligns well with my worldview as a Christian and is used by a lot of the “unicorn” companies that have come out of Silicon Valley.

What does your organization’s garden look like? Are there weeds you need to pull? The longer you wait, the more resources they will rob from your productive plants. How could you upgrade the nutrients you are adding to the soil? And what is the natural potential of your people? What kind of gardener are you?


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