First Remove the Dead, Diseased, and Damaged 

Pruning and training concepts for your company’s good health.  

Spring can’t be too far away when I hear the buzzing of chain saws all day long (when it isn’t snowing!) in late winter.  We know the optimal time for most pruning is winter when,

  • we have time to do it 
  • we aren’t distracted by leaves and flowers that may be disguising problems 
  • strong growth in spring will be encouraged into desirable habits 

We prune and train plants to make them healthy and strong, free of structural weaknesses, and to minimize the effect of diseases.  We can further enhance a plant if we have additional knowledge of how and why plants respond the way they do.  With that additional knowledge, we can improve a plant’s natural appearance, beauty, and production of flowers and fruit.  

Last week I attended the ILCA association’s annual show landscape in Schaumburg, Illinois along with approximately 4,000 other landscape professionals.  The speakers shared great advice about plants, design, and all aspects of building and managing a great company.  I kept thinking about the benefits of pruning and training applied to businesses, especially from the perspective of profitable growth.  Here are some ideas that popped out for me: 

Get rid of your deadwood.  

Especially in these days of scarce labor, I keep hearing managers and owners say, “…I know he’s a problem, but at least he’s another guy to do the work…”  Guess what?  You’ve already admitted that he’s a problem.  Those people often have a bad attitude about their job, clients, boss, etc.  Keeping that “deadwood” in your healthy company exposes your employees and your clients to all kinds of potential damage and/or disease.  Making a clean cut promptly will help your company recover and allow it to thrive.  

Get rid of the diseased and damaged parts. 

It’s not always a person that needs to be removed.  Sometimes a business process is diseased or damaged and should be removed.  Many owners are surprised to find out that their company has a process in place that continues only because “…we always do it that way…”. 

You’ve heard the story about the family that cut the tail off the Thanksgiving turkey for three generations?  When the granddaughter asked how to cook the turkey and was told to cut the tail off, she called grandma and asked why.  The answer: Grandma didn’t have a roasting pan that would fit the turkey decades ago. 

I find these in every company I see (even my own!) I bet in addition to getting rid of unnecessary processes, your employees could give you at least five ways you could save money every week.  Are you asking them where they see diseased or damaged parts?  You may be doing unnecessary things, or you may be missing things you could be doing that would improve your quality, hiring, efficiency, or other metrics.  By not asking and listening, we are leaving money on the table! 

Choose the right plant for the right place to avoid unnecessary pruning.

At any stage in life, pruning causes some stress to the plant, so it should only be done with good reason.  If you choose the right plant for the right place (for your desired effect and situation) much unnecessary corrective pruning can be avoided. Do you have a great hiring and training program for your employees?  Are you evaluating how each are progressing to their highest and best use in the organization?  Be sure you are not overlooking someone who might be right for the next position with some training.  This fits with your career ladder and training goals for each person so they can achieve their growth goals within your organization.  (Right person, right place.) 

Those were easy, but others are yours for the taking.  How do the pruning guidelines translate to a healthier business for you, your clients, and your employees?  It’s a creative way to open up your thinking to evaluate the status quo.  How about: 

  • Get rid of competing leaders! 
  • Provide sound early training to lay a firm foundation for a fine mature specimen. 
  • Ensure a healthy, soundly structured, and pleasingly shaped plant with effective training. 

 Don’t forget – the intervention of the gardener can help a plant recover from damage or disease.  Haven’t you and your management team helped a person, crew, or department in their recovery from an accident, injury, or even COVID?   

 If you would like to discuss where you have used pruning and training to your company’s best result or how you’ve been thinking about what you should do so you are ready for your next phase, let’s chat.  It might be that you want to sell to insiders, get an idea of the value of your business, you are ready to sell your business or you want to buy another business.  If you want to talk about those ideas, call me. Have you bought a business and are having trouble integrating it? We can help with that too.

I can be reached anytime via email: [email protected] or phone at: 224-688-8838.

We’re here to help you Harvest Your Potential!

Alison Hoffman

has more than 25 years of experience in strategy, operations, mergers and acquisitions and delivering business-to-business client solutions. Her areas of expertise include managing operations for profitable growth, organizational design and strategy activation. She brings a wealth of experience through her work in evaluating, valuing and purchasing over 30 companies, leading company-wide cultural and business integration projects and consolidating best practices among business processes and corresponding computing systems. Read Full Bio