The Grass Isn’t Always Greener – Or is It?
“Start where you are. Distant fields always look greener, but opportunity lies right where you are. Take advantage of every opportunity of service”.
It’s no coincidence that Positively Different Solutions chose grass as the image for their logo. We thought we would take a little moment here to explain why this image is so important to us, and serves as a daily reminder of our ethos and goals.
What do we think of when we think of healthy grass? Many images and even smells come to mind. Grass triggers all the sensations doesn’t it? The colour, the epitome of nature and growth. Who can’t imagine the feel of wet grass under foot on a dewy spring morning? And that lovely lush smell of newly cut lawns and green fields in summer, that represent the abundance of nature.
Grass is widespread, so much so that we take its organic nature for granted. Yet it started by someone planting a seed and nurturing it until it grew into something vibrant and alive. So many different strands, individual in their own right and yet working together to form a unified picture and a completely beautiful outcome. However, we all know that grass can also look sparse, patchy and even dead. So how to we tend our grass so that it becomes the best it can be?
If even a small patch of grass becomes infected or damaged it can affect and influence the entire area. So it is with our business and our people. No area of business is unaffected by pollution, whether this pollution comes through reputational damage, low team morale, unsustainable systems or drops in resources such as income. We must always therefore keep our eye on what is happening to what we have planted, the nurturing never stops.
Nurturing Your Grass
Like our businesses and teams, grass quality is complex and dependent on the environment and how it is managed to ensure healthy growth. Different grass producers have different priorities and so must managers tend to differing and often complex and conflicting needs in their organisations. Nurture is key here, making sure we plant and look after our little seedlings, offering the optimum environment and support in which to thrive. We need to feed our grass the right ingredients, at the right time (often specific to individual needs) and as it starts to grow, the need for continued attention and management is important.
At PDS we have worked with businesses where the nurturing stops once the business is up and running. Systems which may be outworn remain in place, halting further healthy growth, and people are treated as disposable resources, replaced when things go wrong instead of offering them the support and nurturing they need to grow into healthy team members. Can you imagine plucking out healthy strands of grass because they were growing in the wrong direction or lying flat! The lawn would quickly suffer! Of course, some healthy pruning and maintenance can be much needed at times, yet often times what is needed is some TLC rather than hefty pruning.
As with any kind of organic system, many elements combine in business to support a strong and resilient culture. Processes and systems must support our people rather than being a burden to them, and most importantly we
must, as managers, recognise what individuals need in order to thrive and give of their best. Yes, this is challenging! Yes, it takes time and effort. The investment however, is one worth making if we want our businesses to truly grow in organic and healthy ways to support attainment of our vision and goals.
With the right conditions grass spreads easily and grows in abundance, spreading its roots underground to ensure continued existence. Yet, grass can often spread into other areas through its own root system. We all want growth, yet often in business we must manage growth through evaluation of our internal systems, ensuring that growth occurs in the right areas to manifest our original vision. We can do this in many ways, through automation, technology and building strong teams that all contribute towards the goal of collective health and effectiveness. The balance can be a tricky one as any business owner and manager will tell you! Especially during growth seasons. Every wondered at how fast grass grows and how to keep on top of it when you are busy!
At PDS we believe that natural balance must necessarily involve working with the environment in which the business operates. The system of grass growth is similarly in balance and harmony with nature, because of this grass is resilient and draws from natural resources – air, rain, soil, water, as well as supporting wildlife, offering a home to support other members of its world. Working in collaboration with the environment and other living organisms in the environment is crucial to success. Gaining necessary support and resources from the wider environment as well as offering that support back in abundance creates mutually beneficial networks; and those who know PDS will recognise this theme in our belief that nothing happens in isolation (see our October blog). Our integration with, and support of the wider community and the larger environment is crucial to adaption and survival and is the reason that PDS invests a lot of time working with other businesses and charities to support their success.
Grass seems to survive the toughest of seasons when it is nurtured and managed well. Most grass is perennial and has its natural phases of rest and growth, as do our businesses. Yet even during much needed rest periods when growth is temporarily halted, grass, synchronised as it is with nature and its environment, remains ready to sprout anew in coming seasons. Our businesses too can survive adverse conditions and resting periods, coming back fresh and ready for growth when circumstances are conducive.
The important of working within prevailing conditions and in congruence with our environment, whether this be other businesses, people, economic and political influences or technological change, is paramount. For PDS, of all these factors people are uppermost. At PDS we not only want a business that survives and succeeds in its own right, we want to help people and businesses so that future generations can benefit from what we achieve. A big goal? Sure. It is! Yet we believe it is achievable through working with, and supporting others. It is people who bring and spark ideas. It is people who do the work that needs to be done every single day. It is motivated and inspired people who make the greatest changes for good in our world. It is people who carry you through the rough times and make business work! Let us never forget that, for if we do, we are like a patch of grass starved of nutrients and care.
Take care of your people, your business and your world as you would tend that lush lawn. Be kind. Pay attention. Feed, nourish and nurture. Allow organic growth to happen unfettered by micro-management and unnecessary boundaries. Spend time looking at what you are growing, seeing what it needs to be the best it can be. Create supportive systems, cultures and networks and through all of these use your insights to manage the direction and area in which your grass is growing.
It pays to check if your grass is greener!
Happy growing everyone!