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On cubicle and apple farms

I’m putting in a small apple orchard near my house. Not large, just 24 trees.

But I’m new to farming, and so it’s got me thinking a lot about conditions for growth and change.

In my orchard, I’m noticing many different conditions which I think will impact growth. These include:

  • How much water is available?
  • How rocky is the soil?
  • How sloped is the ground?
  • How often, and hard, the wind blows?
  • What animals are nearby?

All of these, and many more conditions I’m not yet aware of, will support or inhibit the outcome I want.

In this case, the change I want is for my small trees to become larger trees and bear fruit.

I can affect some of the conditions, but not all.

I can build a watering system, protect the trees from deer, and add compost to the soil.

But I can’t change how windy it is, how sloped the ground is, and the fundamental rocky-ness of the soil.

As I gain experience, I will become aware of more conditions. Some I might be able to effect, others I won’t. But I’m sure as I gain experience, new conditions will be revealed.

Knowing which conditions to change, and which to work with, will only come with experience.

I’ll also observe the outcomes of the current conditions: the patterns which emerge from the system

There’s no naughty or nice in these patterns – but some patterns support my goals, and some don’t.

Do I notice a pattern that I get more weeds than apples? Or that the branches break because they are weak? Or birds eat the apples before I can pick them?

As I see what patterns the system produces, I can consider how to change the conditions to change the patterns.

And I can consider what changes are within reach now, so I never get stuck.

See, each apple tree wants to bear fruit and grow – that’s the natural, ingrained, undeniable life purpose of the tree.

But some won’t, because the conditions don’t support it.

It’s the same with your team

When you don’t get the results you want from your team, it’s not that the system is “broken”, but that the conditions in place are creating a pattern that doesn’t match your goal.

If you want to change the pattern, you have to change the conditions.

If you want to change the conditions, you must become aware of them.

And you must understand what’s within your reach now, so you don’t get stuck.

It sounds simple, but it takes experience and practice, just like with apple orchards.

I can help you with that

If you want help changing the patterns where you work, I humbly offer my services.

We’ll look at what conditions are in place in the system, what that might mean, and what changes are within reach for you now.

I’m not cheap… but I guarantee I’m less expensive than ineffective teams, high-turnover, dissatisfied customers.

Together we’ll create experiments, observe outcomes, and process learnings to align the conditions with your goals.

The first step is to email me a single word: “help”.

No hard sell – I’ll simply reply back and we’ll figure out a way forward.

Take care,

Farmer Marcus

About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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