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« DAY OF ABSENCE | Main | Teach Your Children/Parents Well »

December 08, 2016


Posted by FR team Reader comments in the original posting January 2012

If you’re a manager, do you ask your people to spend part of their time growing the grass, or are you happiest when they’re busy killing the weeds because the results are so quick and easy to advertise? Excellence only comes through patient improvement over the long term.
Posted by: employee | January 20, 2012 at 08:29 AM

this story touched me, particularly because I am assembling my self assessment for annual review – somehow the efforts spent on incremental systems improvement - growing the grass by influencing........infrastructure – are ignored with a comment like – “but I don’t see results (yet)” v. valuing the COQ avoidance of the excursions.
Posted by: JP | January 20, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Great wisdom and timely reminder while developing new goals at work.
Posted by: Sam | January 21, 2012 at 07:46 AM

So I think I understand the point: Is it better to drive the cost down to the lowest possible level where they seemingly no longer exist (on the profit and loss statement) or do we invest in the supply chain such that we have healthy suppliers upon which we can have full faith and trust (and thus protect our brand)?
I never thought this was about lawns anyhow. Much of the Bay Area is covered in cement. Back East, we have lawns!
Have a good day,
Posted by: eastcoast | January 21, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Good sharing. Same thing can be said to education of children. Sometimes it is more effective to encourage children to judge the rightness of something, rather than just forbid them to do it.
Posted by: Japan Friend | January 21, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Life is never "either or". There is nothing against killing the weeds and growing the lawn at the same time. It just needs a different approach. For example, 99% of weeds could be removed mechanically while growing the lawn. More hard work, perhaps. Good management will certainly expect that. Good engineers can certainly accomplish that also.
Posted by: Ex Rabble Rouser | January 21, 2012 at 07:49 PM


It would be good to kill the weed and also grow the grass. Problem solving is to have a quick containment, then put in preventive actions.



When I respond in the inbox of the Friday reflections, I am unable to type in english... it types out in Greek letters I think?

Either way, this struck a chord with me. When working with co-workers I want to be conscious to have a "coach-up first" mentality rather to then "fire or remove" a co-worker from the position mentality.

Removing or firing would be much like removing the weed... perhaps coaching up and developing talent would be better for both parties in the long run... another level in seeing it is to not just to develope the task or the department- but to develop the person as a man or woman. Will they leave your company a better person one day? I hope so, that's my goal. Grow the grass full and healthier than before so that their relationships with others after me will be more fruitful as well.


I love this story. I had not heard it before... thank you my friend!


Anand, You left us before I had a chance to fully download your talent and vision. I am happy you continue to publish these as it allows me to maintain a connection. You benefit many with your insights.

I needed this one at this time. My team is struggling with both priorities and we need to grow more grass. It is more difficult to identify where to plant grass than where to kill weeds. However, planting grass is my objective for 2017. Enable the grass to choke out the weeds. As it does, the most damaging weeds will become ever more obvious. That makes targeted elimination substantially more effective. Not growing the grass poses great risk as regular and broad weed killer applications are very hard on the remaining grass.

In the Pacific Northwest we often use a product called Crossbow or Triplet to kill broadleaf invaders. Without understanding the impact to the grass, I applied it during the hot summer months when my grass was struggling. The weeds died. The grass was badly damaged. 2 years later and I am still trying to recover my lawn. I cannot afford to do the same to my team or my stakeholders.

Friend (rcvd by email. Posted by FR team9

Beautiful reflection!
Came at a perfect time when I am at a crossroads: (1) stay on, persevere and push myself or (2) recognize other opportunities and leave current path.

Pulao Penang

Guess what? The weed and grass story is also very relevant to my husband too... especially shawn's comment. So timely my friend, so timely. 😊

Mark Dennen

I have been fighting this battle for years and the culprit is Poa anum. Incredibly invasive, it spreads quickly, especially in a healthy lawn. I have tried various remedies including lots of lime, fertilizer, pre-emergents, nutsedge killer, but they were just procrastination attempts as the only way to get rid of it is to kill it (with Roundup), dig it up, throw it away and re-seed.

A friend told me this week of a salesman not doing his job, causing disharmony in the group; who complained he was not adequately trained, yet admitted to his manager he was at the gym at 2:00PM. OK, he was young, obviously didn't "get it" and was eventually terminated, but the scar was left behind, not just on the group, but also on the manager. The summary of this is, "You can't build a fire with wet wood." Sometimes, we think the wood is dry enough and we spend much time (and kindling) trying to get it to burn, but to no avail. Finally, we come to the conclusion to just get rid of it, get dry wood and start the fire with only one match. And then we reflect back and say, "Why didn't I take the extra time to look for dry wood in the first place?"

Don H. Lee

We can apply this approach of growing healthier grass to almost every issues in our lives. Anyone can do this but only the wise may be able to do this.

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