Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Making space for good ideas to grow

Over the weekend I stopped to talk to two gardeners thinning out a row of broad beans. As they threw strong and healthy broad bean plants into the bucket I said: “That’s too bad – throwing away those healthy young plants!” They agreed, but they worked at speed pulling out young plants and moving others so they were all the correct distance apart. I silently wondered if I would have been so disciplined if it had been my own garden. Behind them was a perfectly straight line of perfectly spaced healthy broad bean plants, all with enough room to grow into healthy specimens.

The processes and methods at this particular garden were influenced by one of Kew’s ex-Directors and it showed. I could see the discipline and attention to detail with my own eyes.

The business of business has more than once been compared to gardening or sowing and reaping. As spring is beginning to show its sunny face between the rain drops, it seems a fitting reminder that we need to do what needs to be done. Weeding, filing, sorting, choosing, and getting rid of things that will slow down growth, even though we find some things difficult or unpleasant.

Tom Peters talks of leaders only scheduling 50% of their time so they have space to think, reflect and make sure the important things are being done, rather than just the busy work. It’s the space between the broad beans that makes sure the good ideas have enough space to grow.

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