(Image courtesy of Pixabay.com)
“You’ve got to stay out of the weeds.”
Leaders are told all the time to stay out of the weeds.
The more senior the position the more we hear this advice, and these words about the weeds.
“Let’s stay up at a 30,000 or 40,000 foot view on this issue.”
Then the advice switches to altitude and taking a big picture view.
Simple advice: stay out of the details and keep your distance.
This weed/altitude advice attempts to keep us from micromanaging the operation.
But over time, this weed/altitude advice keep removes us from the action.
Ironically, when we stay “out of the weeds” too long, weeds start to sprout, root, and take hold in our organizations.
Weeds of poor customer service.
Weeds of missed deadlines.
Weeds of a culture not focused on deliverables.
Weeds of excuses and justifying the lack of results.
We may need more balanced advice.
Sometimes get in the weeds and stay close to the action.
Sometimes you need to get your hands dirty. You need to get in the dirt and pluck weeds.
When should you get in the weeds?
When a pattern of customer complaints emerges?
When deadlines are missed?
When more time is spent justifying than solving?
Maybe regularly enough before patterns of complaints and lack of results can take root.
Gardens need regular weeding. Our organizations need regular weeding too.
If you don’t spend time in the weeds, those weeds may be the thing that chokes out your organization. Weeds make us vulnerable to losing market share, customers, and good employees.
Balancing time in the weeds and big picture thinking time will have to be a topic for another day. But for now, if you have been up at 30,000 or 40,000 feet and removed from the action; walk around, get close, and look for weeds. And when you find weeds, get rid of them.