How do you trim your shrubs?  Maybe you don’t.  If you hire someone to do that chore,

take time to notice how some of the lawn care workers handle that task.  They trim by cutting the long and uneven shoots to shape the bush or shrub to its predetermined form. This method does not take into account that the bush may have a tree, weed, or some other plant growing with it.  All the vegetation is trimmed and shaped together.

Pruning, on the other hand, is an entirely different procedure.  The purpose of pruning is removing dead, weak, or misshapened parts of the plant with the purpose of strengthening the roots and major trunk.  Weeds, vines, trees, and other plants are removed from the earth around the shrub roots.  Anything that would steal water and nourishment from the main plant is dug up.  Healthy plants, not beautiful form or shape, is the purpose of pruning.

Business teams are like shrubs.  Some teams look pretty and seem to be functioning effectively.  However, some members may be sapping nourishment and energy from the group and from your business with poor attitudes, lazy work habits, inadequate training, or distracting behaviors.

Continuing to shape the team with superficial measures does not strengthen the team. Pruning is necessary.  Removing the energy sapping distraction is the only way to strengthen the team and the organization.

Don’t be afraid to trim, remove, or replant to get the team with the values, attitudes, and skills that contribute to the profitability and productivity of your company.

Pruning may be ugly—but just for a little while.  In the long run, the team and your company will be stronger.

If you have a strong team, nurture it.  If you don’t, get out your pruning shears.  A morning glory vine stays a morning glory.  It never becomes a boxwood.