I occasionally helped my grandfather prune rosebushes as a boy. I vividly remember my shock the first time I saw how much he cut them back. His kind but firm response: “If you ask the rosebush, it doesn’t like to be pruned.”
Unpruned rose bushes will not produce as many flowers the next season. They’re limited by the spent flowers and dead tissue that accumulates.
It’s not only roses which benefit from pruning. Most fruit trees also need annual pruning. Most living things have seasons of pruning, shedding, and reducing.
Your organization needs occasional pruning, as well. Here are six things you as a leader should consider pruning:
- Outdated processes and procedures
- Projects which aren’t going to deliver a good ROI
- Old equipment which is rarely used or expensive to maintain
- Legacy software which is not essential
- “Deadweight” employees who aren’t providing 3x or 5x their salary, or who are not adapting to the new future state
- Unprofitable customers
Don’t expect applause from the “dead” part of the rosebush that you’re pruning. There’s always someone who will advocate for it and claim it’s essential. Make your decisions based on the future benefits to come.