Here in my neck of the woods, Maine, we have our first frost warning for tonight. That means pulling out all the tarps to cover up the tender tomato and pepper plants so the frost doesn’t kill them. Now, I insist we still have plenty of summer left, but the temperatures and the earlier darkness at the end of the day tell a different tale.
As my sister and I spread and anchored tarps, I was checking out our pumpkin crop. During the height of the summer, the pumpkin vines looked like they were well on their way to taking full control of the free world. Alas, a powdery mildew attacked and our valiant vines died back considerably. The pumpkins are still going strong, and I think we’ll have some good pumpkins for eating and carving.
Looking at those pumpkins, I remembered reading a business book not long ago. It’s called The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz. I’m always on the lookout for resources for my clients (and for my own businesses) so I thought I’d give this one a try. Although I think Michalowicz is likely “one brick shy” and I’m not a fan of his potty humor, I actually enjoyed his book. Here’s why:
His strategy is based on a simple premise. When you’re growing pumpkins, you have to weed out the weaker, smaller ones so the big, champion pumpkins have room and resources to grow. That one concept has so many different applications in a business.
Products that take up far too much time and money can be weeded out to allow profitable products in growth markets to flourish.
Employees who take up space and time without contributing to the company’s success should be retrained or relocated to a desk in your competitor’s business.
Superstar performers should be nurtured and rewarded. Don’t let them die on the vine from sheer neglect.
Businesses that are weak should be given more of what they need to succeed or tossed on the compost heap.
Systems should be put in place to yield the desired results: one giant champion pumpkin versus many small performers — the only difference is how you support them and nurture them.