Any proud gardener, like my mum, will gladly tell you about every plant and flower sown in their garden. They will also tell you how essential it is to maintain the garden and in particular, the power of pruning.
"Pruning is painful but profitable"
A novice may neglect the pruning process especially if the plant appears to be flourishing. However, the seasoned green fingered grower will look beyond the surface. They know that when done correctly and at the right time, there are a number of benefits to pruning including:
It encourages healthy growth and longevity. Pruning helps to protect the plants from any pests and disease which can gain entry to the plant through dead wood, broken branches and wounds.
It can influence in what way the plant grows so that it is more ideal for its structural integrity. Maintaining the right structure helps to mitigate the risk of broken limbs and falling branches.
It keeps the people around the plant safe. For example, a dead branch on a tree can fall at any time, endangering nearby people, buildings, and power lines.
Similar principles apply to staff networks.
Pruning is a painful but profitable process and when done in the right way for the right reasons, it will help to secure the foundation and future of the staff network. Here are 5 top tips:
Pick the right time: Pruning is best done during the network's less busier period because it’s during this time that the staff network is least susceptible to harm that may result from pruning.
Roots: Look beneath the surface. Are the roots still strong or are there weeds such as mission drift stifling the development of the staff network? Have you lost your way? Any activities undertaken should be done to help the staff network grow in stature and in the right direction.
Undetected Symptoms: Be alert to any infections that can stunt the network's growth. For example, 'event-itis' or 'Founders' Syndrome' or perhaps any unresolved conflict*.
Nourish your relationships: Take time to review the network's relationships. Interact with the members to assess their views. Are you still relevant? Touch base with the Network's critical friends and/or Champion to unpack any areas of concern. Knowing what 'nutrients' are required allows you to feed your relationships better and benefit from them being on top form.
Explore your environment: Critically assess how much time and energy is spent on staff network business. Resources may be scarce and therefore, it is important to prioritise the work so that it's aligned with the values, behaviours and direction of the organisation. Trim back any area of work that does not foster growth or consider parking it for another season.
*For more information about these maladies and others, read Chapter 5 of The Incredible Power of Staff Networks!