One might think that my last name is Gardner. This would lead one to believe that I was born with a green thumb. It is a sad fact that I couldn’t keep our flowering friends alive for many years. One or two cactus died under my watch. However, in the past few years I have decided to stand up for my good name.
Learning from a master tomato grower was a turning point in my life. In just a few hours, I learned a lot more about the reasons a tomato plant produces so much and how to use those natural strengths to increase the plant’s growth and output.
I was able to observe parallel skills in maintaining and building incredible cultures within organizations. I have named these skills the four Rs: research. Reproduce. Re-work. And re-imagine.
True masters of their craft begin as students. They read, research, and learn from others, especially those who are already professionals in the field. Research has helped me determine which vegetables, plants and flowers will thrive in my garden.
I am working towards becoming a master gardener. I have learned the exact amount of water, sun, and space that certain types of vegetables require to thrive. This knowledge has also helped me to increase the diversity and biodiversity of my soil to ensure optimal growth.
If you are serious about creating a healthy culture in your organization, it is a good idea to begin as a student and seek the advice of those who have had success with their research and practice.
You will be able to understand your environment and what customers, employees, and shareholders need. It is important to understand your unique advantage in meeting customers’ needs.
Understanding that change is inevitable is another key to creating a healthy culture. Understanding that change is inevitable is a key component to mastery.
It’s important to keep your mind open to new information in an ever-changing environment. Andy Grove, Intel’s visionary CEO stated once that much of his management style was a result of reading Peter Drucker’s Practice of Management many decades after it was published. Grove, despite being a meticulous practitioner of improving work processes, was humble and hungry.
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When you put your learnings into practice, they are only theoretical. My garden is my laboratory for putting my knowledge into practice. This has allowed me to continue learning as well as speed up the process of creating the ideal solution.
Similar to business, your company is the place where you put all of the knowledge that you have learned into practice and create a healthy culture.
This application can have both short- and long-term advantages and pay big dividends. You can also use it as a source of continuous learning, as you continue to learn and apply your knowledge and learnings to make improvements.
John Doerr’s OKRs, or Objectives and Key Results, are a great example. They were introduced by Google in 2017 and described in his book Measure what Matters.
Doerr, who is also the author of the book, discusses how he managed to get the attention of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders and Google, and Marissa Mayer, to discuss his new management method that ensures that all employees are focused on the same issues.
Doerr stated that OKRs were “an elastic, data-driven apparatus for a freewheeling and data-worshipping enterprise.” They promised transparency and would reward “good failures.”
OKRs, a goal-oriented process such as OKRs, can help you duplicate success. It will also ensure that you are actively learning and staying focused as your company evolves.
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It is hard work to replicate masterful garden techniques. It takes a lot of hard work to replicate masterful garden techniques. You might not get the results you expected from what you thought. This means that you will have to learn from your mistakes and expect some retooling.
You will encounter roadblocks in your quest to establish solid practices that enrich your culture, increase productivity, and enhance your team’s creativity.
These situations are not to be worried about. You can improve the effectiveness of your business by tweaking, iterating, and re-working the things you have already put into practice. This will allow you to learn and optimize the practices that will make your company flourish and produce healthy harvests.
You can start by introducing design thinking to your entire organization, and especially your people experience teams.
This will improve the quality and design of your organization’s processes, programs and tools. As they validate and invalidate hypotheses, teams will be able to learn faster and gain greater buy-in, thereby allowing them to iterate and expand the value and scope of their ideas.
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A master gardener will recognize after many years of experience that there are better ways than the old methods to produce more successful results. This realization leads to the desire to find better ways.
As I mentioned, I had the privilege of learning from real masters. He had a vision to increase his tomato yield. He used a trellis with strings. This allowed him to wrap the tomato plant around the string as it grew. The result was a longer tomato plant and more fruit.
True leaders are also able to reimagine ways to create a more positive culture, which will improve the execution and performance of employees.
Every aspect of a business is constantly changing — the customers, the competition and the employees. In times of rapid disruption, maintaining the status quo can lead to obsolescence.
Periods of disruption can be a great opportunity to evaluate current practices and look at the problem with fresh eyes. This will allow for divergent thinking to create solutions that could lead to untold success.
Only years of hard work and applying the best practices they have learned over the years can make a master. My experience has shown me that being intentional and deliberate is key to establishing a productive and healthy garden. It was a priority.
It was important to allocate space, and most importantly, to commit the time and resources necessary to create a healthy ecosystem that would eventually produce a harvest. I responded by building sturdy, beautiful garden boxes that showed my commitment to the project and transformed them into a flourishing gardening garden.
The same goes for building a successful company. It starts with cultivating the right culture. Peter Drucker says that culture is what makes a company successful. It will determine the type of strategy the company adopts and how it executes it.
If a company does not make a healthy culture the driving ethos of its strategy, it will eventually find that this can lead to a culture of noxious plants that hinder growth and prevent your company from reaching its full potential.
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