First a quote: “Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Author, Life’s Little Instruction Book
Ok, I’m guessing I’m not the only person who is ready for spring. (Compared to the rest of the country, we have had an unusually easy winter here in Boise, ID.) Spring fever has arrived for me; I am anxious to be spending more time outside, both relaxing of course, and tinkering in my yard.
I’m likely to be amongst a small minority of people who, for the most part, enjoys yardwork. I have always mowed and maintained my own yard. Returning from a road trip to a home with a green, weed-free yard is gratifying for me. There are also important life lessons about relationships, teams and organizational cultures to be learned from green grass, weeds and mother nature herself.
Gardeners know the best deterrent to dandelions and other weeds is thick, green, healthy grass. (A related sports analogy would be, “The best defense, is a great offense.”) When the grass in our lawns is thick and healthy, there is no room for weeds to grow or even germinate. Healthy grass works like a barrier or shield against even the toughest weeds. Of course, the opposite is true as well, once grass becomes weak, perhaps from neglect, undernourishment, lack of water or stress, weeds attack with a vengeance.
There is a direct correlation between the health of the grass in our lawns and the number of weeds we fight. So, like in many other areas of life, gardeners have choices. We can spend time and energy nurturing healthy grass or we can spend our time fighting weeds. I have learned if we focus only on fighting the weeds, without nurturing the grass, the weeds will win almost every time.
This same principle applies in all relationships, including our marriages, with our children and at work on our teams and in our organizations. Weeds attack unhealthy grass just like problems attack weak or fractured relationships and unhealthy company cultures. Click here to read: Culture Matters
Every couple will face problems in their marriage, just like every lawn will have weeds. Problems and weeds are not only natural and normal, they can help build strength in relationships and provide a deep richness to life. And, like our lawns, if our relationships become weak from undernourishment and a lack of nurturing, problems like weeds will grow in both frequency and severity. Weeds and problems left unaddressed or unresolved, almost always win.
As leaders, we face the same choices with our teams and organizational cultures. We can spend time, effort and money nurturing strong teams and cultures or, wage a never-ending battle against weeds and problems. Strong teams and strong companies thrive on overcoming problems and difficult challenges. Weaker teams and companies are often buried under an avalanche of compounding problems, often threatening their longevity and even their survival.
Repeating, as leaders we always have choices! We can choose to invest time and energy nurturing our relationships, teams and cultures or, spend a tremendous amount of time and energy fighting difficult problems. Just like every lawn will have weeds, every relationship, team and company will have problems. What will you choose? Nurturing relationships or fighting problems?
One last thought. Even if you don’t enjoy yardwork like I do, you know intuitively a healthy lawn takes continual nurturing, frequent watering and fertilization multiple times a season. Throwing out a little fertilizer once a year is not enough for a beautiful, healthy, “weed-resistant” lawn that is the envy of the neighborhood.
And yet, I am frequently amazed at the assumption made by many, that an annual “team-building event” is enough to nurture a healthy, results-producing, problem-solving team, or company culture. Just like lawns need regular feeding and frequent hydration, your team’s health requires similar care and attention.
Does your marriage need a little TLC? Same question for other important relationships? Do you want your team to be the envy of the company? Do you desire company results that are the envy of Wallstreet? My advice; stop thinking about relationship building and team building as one-time events. Regardless of focus level, building relationships, teams and cultures is a continual and never-ending process!
For me personally, sprinkling fertilizer is much more rewarding, and gratifying, than pulling weeds.
What will you do to nurture your marriage, important relationships, your team or company culture this week? Little things matter!
Related Monday Morning Minute articles:
- Click here to read: Culture Matters
- Click here to read: Is Your Leadership Energy Positive
- Click here to read: Saying Great Job Isn’t Enough
- Click here to read: Do You Trust Your Team; Do They Trust You
How will you lead differently, or better this week? Now is the time to give that question a little thought.
Have a great week!
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
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