I’ve been spending lots of time in my garden lately especially after a heavy travel schedule. Prior to leaving on the first of six back-to-back trips, I took the time to rid my flower gardens of the early weeds. I must say, they looked pretty good on April 30th when I left town. But with nice rich, amended soil, and lots of rain, the plants flourished. All of them. I returned home to find dozens of gorgeous flowers and weeds galore! That’s the thing about gardening that I’ve had to learn to accept. There will be weeds. The challenge is staying on top of them before all the ugly stuff takes over. But spending time in my garden lets my mind wander (when I’m not listening to audiobooks.) So as I was tending to the weeds, and propping up the peonies, and fertilizing the nutrient-starved foliage, I started thinking about the parallel between managing people and gardening. Both need time and attention in order to reach their full potential. To grow the best people and plants, I have to do my part. And that means I can’t tend to them only occasionally and expect everything to flourish.
Just like monitoring my garden for weeds, making rounds on your staff on a regular basis allows you to spot problems early and take action before they get out of control. You’ll see opportunities to reinforce, coach and advise when you take the time to be present. I’ve found that even a quick, five-minute conversation with a team member is enough for me to re-connect and let them know that they are important. It’s not enough to do that once a month. I need to do it regularly. If I don’t, small problems arise and cross-pollinate into big issues that could have been managed. If I can keep an eye on things in my garden, a few quick tugs at little weeds can keep my cherished plants strong and healthy. If I turn my back for too long the whole garden gets overgrown and I’m back to square one, spending more time and energy than I would have if I had just stayed on top of things. I hate having to pull out the big guns (Round up) in my garden nearly as much as I hate having a major confrontation with staff over problems run amok. So if I want to maintain a high-functioning team and a well maintained garden, I have to be present so I can nourish, support, and keep the noxious stuff at bay. So here’s to making regular rounds for a healthy team and bountiful garden!