The Unconventional CEO – Labourer vs Gardener

The Unconventional CEO

Chapter 45 – On Saturday mornings I get to see my euphemistically-named landscape engineer. We don’t cross paths during weekdays, as he normally leaves long before I am able to escape the office.

I expect him to be a proper gardener, telling me what I need to do to make his efforts successful and to improve the status of the garden. The fuel for the lawnmower won’t last another week. The shears should be taken for a service as autumn is coming up. The pH near the swan pond is too high, so should we order lime before planting the nasturtiums? With his feedback, we plan the week. He shows me the results from the previous week and awaits my comments. We discuss things that could be done, and he guides me on what’s possible, what’s feasible and what’s necessary. I want a pretty garden for the family to enjoy and relax in. He delivers that. He’s a proper gardener.

What I don’t want is a labourer. That’s the guy who must ask me what he must do each day. One who tells me on a Saturday that the lawnmower has been broken since Tuesday. He couldn’t plant the nasturtiums because of… whatever reason. There is blame and a culture of no shame for missed tasks and deadlines.

Similarly, the workers in your enterprise are divided between the responsibly proactive and the living dead. Like yeast, an economic principle may spread.  It’s called: ‘The tragedy of the commons.’  Why should some do their utmost, while others who focus only on their own narrow interests can get away with less?

Test for those that are the gardeners. Cull, prune and fertilise amongst the workforce accordingly.

You can change what people know. You cannot always change what they do, or how they approach their work.

The Unconventional CEO offers succinct, compelling advice from one successful CEO Mario Pretorius, to you The Cape Messenger reader.

The book is also available to purchase in full from the Amazon store.

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