5/8/12

Turning Dirt

Everything's In Bloom (Part 4)


Every good gardener knows that to have a great garden with blooms and yield you have to work the dirt. Not just when you create the garden but as a part of maintenance.

Working the dirt means more than weeding, managing growth, watering and adding fertilizer. Over time, the dirt settles and has a tendency to compact constricting root growth. Nutrients that once made the ground fertile are eroded or exhausted unless replenished. More dirt may need to be added. The great gardener works the dirt making sure that it will encourage new growth and sustain viability.

It is the same for companies. Making a company bloom means having to work on the company to make sure that the attention of leadership goes deeper than what can be seen in a quick look.

Turning the dirt in companies starts with the decision of whether it is maintenance with a shovel, leaving the garden intact, or a full turnover - in essence using a plow or rototiller.

Using the plow or rototiller method is a full upheaval. This method demonstrates a decision that there is a new approach, business model and little of the old is needed other than a footprint. Turning the dirt is only a part of the process and plan. It will require repopulation with transplants and/or fresh new people, ideas and methodologies.

The shovel or trowel method is more selective and is an effective part of a maintenance program. The footprint remains as well as most of the people, production, methods and models. Care in turning the dirt is important so that roots are not disturbed while making sure that there is room for growth.

Selection will also be a part of the process, removing the weak and spent, replacing with fresh and new.

Turning the dirt is never enough. Old dirt turned by either method is still old dirt. Rejuvenating it usually requires adding something. Old material repurposed and turned under as compost becomes a nutrient and promotes healthy growth. Aerification, especially if augmented by a medium to make sure that the air space is maintained for new growth, can be valuable. In business, this means placeholders and positioning for expanded business. Fertilizer can be new ideas, new markets, and the planting of new people.

As you think about the garden that is your company, act as a master gardener would. If you want long term results with a company that blooms and grows, producing a great yield, you will need to turn the dirt. Deciding how much and timing will impact your return on investment.


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