My garden has taken off this year already. The problem is, I haven’t planted anything yet. Peter Drucker said something similar about people: “The only things that evolve by themselves in an organization are disorder, friction and malperformance.” Wherever we organize life, personally or professionally, someone needs to keep creating the culture. Somebody needs to guard the vision and values. Beware of Drucker’s three weeds…
Order leaks. When disorder replaces it, a growing sense of futility can start to take over which can bring further chaos. The remedy is not only to press harder for discipline, which addresses symptoms. You must also tap into desire, whether you’re a parent or a president. I know some busy people who gladly make time to clean up after a weekly gathering because they recognize its influence upon their kids’ lives. Surfacing the common felt need brings motivation—even to fulfill the most mundane tasks.
Shared vision also acts like oil in an engine. Parts that must fit together need a common, pressurized lubricant to keep bumps and rubs from doing damage. To look at it another way, vision is directional. It keeps people shoulder to shoulder, moving in the same direction rather than at cross-purposes. It requires us to say “No” to fast-growing, shallow-rooted twists and trends.
Achievement and performance can become a kind of drug which numbs the pain of festering despair. Americans turn nearly everything into an obsession. Staying busy itself can be a kind of medication. We don’t let ourselves feel bad long enough to consider what’s wrong below the waterline. Questions of significance and even priorities get short shrift because we have to push through a lot of discomfort to identify what must change. Without the will to look at the brutal facts, there’s motivation to tinker with the status quo.
We give ourselves far too little permission to fail or be wrong, which is necessary to learn and grow. Instead, we tend to grant permission to succeed at anything, even if it’s the wrong thing. Thomas Merton cautioned about climbing the ladder of success only to find in the end it has been leaning against the wrong wall. The old saying, “Nothing succeeds like success,” is really a warning.
Are you hurting the healthy people around you by letting anything take root in your midst, even if it’s a weed?
Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit…. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. – Matt. 7:16, 20