Where a Weed Is Allowed to Grow… 

J. Keith Hughey


Volume XXII, Number 17 (Issue 1073) April 22, 2024 

Where a Weed Is Allowed to Grow… 

 … more are sure to follow. Please note the “a” in today’s title. Should you attempt to Google the phrase as I did to determine its origins, even with the “a” included, the search results begin and end with legal means and places you can grow cannabis. How things have changed! But enough of that. Back to my discourse on the garden variety of weeds. 

I’ll admit, I obsess a bit when it comes to keeping weeds out of my flower beds. It is the same for the parts of our yard where we have replaced the turf with either crushed granite or bark mulch. We made the switch because we live in San Antonio, Texas where persistent drought and intense heat are now the summertime norm. The change has dramatically reduced our water consumption. 

As for the weeds, I pull them as soon as they emerge. I do so for two reasons. First, weeds are unsightly, and I work hard to maintain the aesthetics of our home and landscaping. Second, weeds multiply at an alarming rate and pace, regardless of the conditions, drought or no drought. Thus, any weed left for too long turns into three, then nine, then twenty-seven, then eighty-one, and so on. It does not take long for the weed count to become a big number – taking over any and all spaces with anything that remotely resembles soil. Wildflowers (weeds with a good press agent as our oldest daughter once observed) as well as some cultivated species of plants are able to multiply like weeds too. Since I pull weeds as soon as they appear, I have at times uprooted a tiny plant I might have preferred to keep. All due to my zeal to rid my spaces of weeds. It is a small price to pay in my book. 

Truthfully, my compulsion to eliminate weeds from my environment has reached the level where I will sometimes stoop down to pull a weed or two from a friend, neighbor, or one of our children’s yards. I know what you are thinking, and you are right. I am a little OCD when it comes to weeds. 

But today’s missive is not really about weeds. It just happens that they are a great, albeit unfortunate, metaphor for poor performers in the workplace. If one is not careful, one poor performer can turn into two, two into four, and so on. Such multiplication occurs any time an organization is quick to hire (usually out of desperation to fill an open position) and slow to fire (usually out of neglect or misplaced empathy). Problem performers, it seems, just naturally grow in an unhealthy environment. If one is not careful, poor performers can grow to outnumber the good or core performers. 

This ruinous remix occurs when those who are putting forth the effort and producing quality work start to question the intelligence, integrity, and commitment to accountability of those in positional leadership roles. After all, if a boss genuinely cares as much as they sometimes profess to, then the solid performers would not be saddled with or burdened by coworkers who are not pulling their weight. 

Effective leaders expect their people to be accountable much as they hold themselves accountable. Likewise, effective leaders do not put off crucial conversations. They may not relish such interventions, but they do them nonetheless because it is the right thing to do for all concerned. In effect, they put the organization’s needs first. Their people’s needs second. And their needs last. To borrow the title of one of Simon Sinek’s books, “leaders eat last.” Or, as it is in this instance, weeds must go and go quickly. Procrastination only makes the job tougher. 

Soli Deo Gloria 

“I passed by the field of the sluggard And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down.” Proverbs 24:30-31 

J. Keith Hughey

Mobile: (210)260-0955

E-mail: keith@jkeithhughey.com

Website: www.jkeithhughey.com

Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance

Copyright 2024 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Recent issues of Musings may be found at www.jkeithhughey.com.  Your comments are always welcome.

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