Let things flourish

Part of the garden at Great Dixter

At the poles there seem to be two sorts of gardeners. At one end, those who create beautiful, ornamental gardens with nothing out of place, with flowers in neat lines, trees in geometric patterns and well defined “garden rooms”. At the other are those who create places of stunning, but almost chaotic beauty. Both are highly skilled.

They provide a neat metaphor. We are just coming out of a business period where the “garden room” approach has predominated. Organisational boxes, functional reporting, clear lines of responsibility. Careful analysis of business sectors and “gardeners” with Lean Sigma Master Black Belts and MBA’s.

We’re moving into a chaotic beauty phase. All sorts of new opportunities are appearing that don’t fall into neat patterns or previous categorisations, and those who are used to the ornamental gardening style of business are increasingly stressed. The businesses that are thriving are tended by those who rather than try and lead their garden, follow it. They find out where it wants to go and help it get there.

I was watching gardeners at Great Dixter last year, in between lockdowns, and asked one of them how they designed the part of the garden in the picture above. She laughed and said we don’t design it, we just help it be. Everything in there has chosen a place where it grows best alongside others. Our job is to let the healthy ones flourish.

The result is not “neat and tidy”, it is stunningly beautiful and speaks to the soul.

I can’t think of a single good reason why we can’t aim to make business like that.

A reminder. If you haven’t seen it, have a look at “Do Build“. It’s made for those who want to grow beautiful businesses.

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