What Does Your Culture Look Like?
WE live on a corner and almost every summer day as part of my morning exercise, I walk down the side street of our home. The sun is still rising. The dew hasn’t yet vanished from the grass. Everything looks fresh and green.
The bushes that we so carefully planted around the perimeter of our home several years ago have grown substantially since the lawn service gave them their spring trim. As each day goes by,
I realize that some parts of the bushes are REALLY growing out, and maybe it’s time for a mid-summer trim earlier than we anticipated.
So, one morning after my exercise I casually grabbed a big paper yard refuse bag from the garage, along with my favorite cutting tools, and meandered over to the two or three bushes that from a distance seemed to need special attention. Once I got close to them, I saw that in reality the problem wasn’t so much with the original bushes we planted, as it was with other wild bushes growing up in the middle of them.
I began clipping away at the branches until I could finally see the base of these stalks, and move in with my more precise and sharp cutting tool to cut them off just above the ground. That’s as close as I could get given that the roots seem to be intertwined. Once I got all the wild, weed-like bushes removed, I realized that the original bush was only half as full. The weed took up so much space that it prevented the original bush from growing. As my one bag filled up quicker than anticipated, I began to recognize the enormity of the issue.
There weren’t just two or three bushes that needed attention. There were about EIGHT! That’s when I alternated between wondering whether the lawn service just cut the bushes back versus cutting OUT the greenery that wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place.
If I or my husband had paid more attention to the job that needed to be done, or how the bushes were developing, maybe we could have caught this earlier. Instead, now we needed to surgically remove the vegetation that didn’t belong there in order to nurture the greenery that was consistent with our original intent. This created more work for us, and loss for the plants themselves.
A Picture of Your Culture
Given my passion for leadership, I began to think about the lesson to be learned for organizations. Leaders who talk about the culture and behaviors that they want, but fail to follow through and ensure that everyone in their organizations know what to do and how to do it, are likely to get inconsistent results.