Gardeners Not Mechanics: How to Cultivate Change at Work
I recently came across a book that intrigued me from the moment I read the title, Gardeners Not Mechanics: How to Cultivate Change at Work by Gary Lloyd. I thoroughly enjoyed the ideas that Gary shared creating lasting change and how to approach it. As Gary points out, gardeners cannot predict or control their environments. Instead, they must balance art and science, proceed through trial and error, then nourish and support their crop. Likewise, leaders seeking to effect change in their organizations face similarly unpredictable and interdependent environments they cannot control, only influence.
As he illustrates, mechanics rely on predictability, assuming that the same inputs produce the same outputs. Machines need well-defined, controlled environments to perform well. In contrast, gardeners know that their environment is unpredictable. They experiment to find out what works and what doesn't and continually adjust to what they find out. They know there is no guarantee that what worked before will work again because they know their environment is in a constant state of flux.
Gary designs the second part of the book to walk through the elements of change using the language of gardening: Plan, prepare the soil, plant, prune, weed, water, stake, ensure good health, and enjoy your harvest. Perhaps it is time to adopt a gardener's mindset in your life or your organization? Check it out here.