Questions I’ve Been Asking Myself While Weeding the Garden

Abundance Accountability Respect


Story: I’ve had a few days just letting go post retirement. Our farm property has a very large garden, so there is always work to do, especially pulling friggin’ weeds. I’ve found myself reflecting on a few things while yanking out those stubborn lawn terrorists. Here are some random questions/thoughts at the end of my spade:

  1. Why do most people drive to work? Every metroplex I know is currently staggering with traffic issues. For six years at the last company I worked for, the leadership made it totally okay to work where you needed to do your best work. Today, the technology with productivity tools like the iPad, Chromebook, Google Suite, MICROSOFT 360, etc., along with fabulous networks, are so robust that most people do NOT have to go to the office everyday. So why do people clog up our transportation system to show up somewhere at 8:30 a.m., when if we looked at it honestly, people just don’t need to. Think of the contribution to everyone’s well being/public benefit if people who could, just went to their office 50 percent of the time. I believe there would be a massive increase in productivity. We need public and private leadership to make this so.
  2. Why do organizations still try and keep people with “golden handcuffs?” Do you really want someone hanging around when they would rather go? How arcane. If you’ve earned money, you should get it now and not after some vesting period. If you want to leave, the formula should be worked out and both the employee and employer should be able to pull the trigger without elaborate explanations. Walk in anytime, for whatever reason: Two weeks severance for every year worked, all benefits, remaining holidays paid out. No negotiations required. Both the employee and employer would have full skin-in-the-game to focus on the real motivators: A meaningful purpose, great work, and continuous learning/personal equity.
  3. Why do organizations still ask leaders to give people ratings on an annual basis? I guess if you had a job on the kill floor in the slaughterhouse, and killed more cows than the next guy, you could be rated as a higher performer. Of course, it would not take long before the inequities would be surfaced: Better bolt gun, less stubborn Holsteins that sit down and cry before they get put down, better ramp, etc. Sorry to use the crassness of this analogy to make a point, I just find bosses giving an annual rating to people so dehumanizing and flat out stupid. On the other hand, if feedback was more continuous, honest, human and robust from a statistically significant data source, that would be meaningful. Even a rating might be meaningful in that context. Most of us have a desire to genuinely and continuously get better.

Key Point: Everyone can benefit from doing a little weeding. Pulling out the crazy or outlived things we do in the workplace is no exception. I’m going to continue weeding through August. I hope removing a few will make the garden much more healthy. And occasionally, I may mistake a flower for a weed. Oops. I hope I challenge some of your assumptions too. Maybe we can weed together?

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Why not free people up and give them the autonomy to work from where and when they need to? Only one rule: No results = no job.
  2. Why not challenge the way you motivate people to stay, and make it easier to leave if people want out?
  3. Focus on developing versus rating others. You might be surprised how much performance really improves.

Weeding in Personal Leadership,


One Millennial View: The philosopher Voltaire has a memorable saying that boils down to “tend your own garden.” The premise is, whatever chaos might be going on around you, no one can take how you treat your own garden away from you. Of course, your “garden” can be a metaphor for anything in your control. It’s a wonderful reminder that pulling your own weeds can make your whole landscape a lot prettier.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis