Prune Now or Pay Later


In my last post, I shared about an abundant harvest from my fruit trees, and how I realized that to get results next year I need to learn how to prune them this fall.

Yes, pruning can be painful. But it’s essential to future growth. Here’s what I’ve discovered. To get the results I want, I have to invest. My time, money, and energy.

The worst thing you can do is to just cut to cut because that’s what everyone else especially your forum mates are doing. To hack away at the PNL because you have to produce profit now! You’ll end up doing what I did recently. Not good.

There was an overgrown bush in my flower garden. I got in there just to thin it out a bit. Well, I had no vision, and I certainly didn’t seek counsel, except in a veiled self-reassuring question to my mom, “Don’t you think I should trim that overgrown bush down a bit?” So with my long green pruner in hand, I started “trimming” and I whacked off one wrong branch too quickly. Long story short, I had to cut the entire bush down to the base. I just hope I didn’t kill it and it will come back in the spring.

That’s what happens without vision and expertise.

If you’re dealing with something that’s valuable, you can’t be an amateur about it. My fruit producers are precious to me. So I need to hire someone who knows and loves trees so much that they have vision for their future. Someone who with knowledge, wisdom and experience can make each cut confidently and carefully in the spirit of long-term growth, sustainability, and, yes, fruitful results.

Now, I am not saying every budget line should NOT be evaluated. In fact as we roll into 4th Quarter I would recommend it! What I am saying is you need vision first.

Yet as leaders we Google “prune business” and off we go. And of course, we are either too cheap to get help (that can be me), or we are too prideful and think we can figure it out (that’s me too).

What’s the price of this strategy? Unlike my bush whacking, the cuts you make affect people — a lot of them. And nine months from now, you get only half the fruit you could have gotten had you invested little now. Yes, the danger is you will never know what profit you sacrificed because you did not prune. You see what’s in front of you and you see “profit” without even considering the opportunity you missed because you didn’t take time to ask hard questions, cut precious items, and challenge past success. It is time to prepare for the 2013 harvest today — and it starts with your willingness to prune.

Is this making sense? Share your thoughts. In the next post I’ll talk about the essential key to successful pruning. Right now I’m going to go sharpen my shears.

Your Coach,