Archive for July, 2011

Pruning Tactics

Posted: July 20, 2011 in articles


Chapter 2 of the book Necessary Endings by Dr Henry Cloud is titled ‘Pruning: Growth Depends on getting rid of the unwanted or the superfluous.’ I found this chapter both insightful and challenging.

Dr Cloud refers to the art of growing rose bushes. The Gardener who is skilled in growing healthy rose bushes intentionally and purposefully cuts off branches and buds that fall into the following 3 categories:

Healthy buds or branches that are not the best ones

Sick branches that are not going to get well, and

Dead branches that are taking up space needed for the healthy ones to thrive.

Dr Cloud refers to this metaphor as a means to encourage us to look at these 3 categories of necessary endings in our own professional lives. What really struck me from the metaphor was the fact that a rose bush has only enough resources available to it to bring a certain number of buds to bloom – not all of them! It simply cannot bring all of them to full bloom. In order for the bush to thrive, some of the buds have to go. Dr Cloud says: ‘the caretaker constantly examines the bush to see which buds are worthy of the plants limited fuel and support and cuts the others away… He ends their role in the life of the bush and puts an end to the bush’s having to divert resources to them… in doing so, the gardener frees those needed resources so the plant can redirect them to the buds with the greatest potential to become mature roses.’ (page 16)

We have resources which are both precious and limited. Are we treating them this way?

Where are we directing our resources?

If we had to examine them through the knowledge that our resources can only bring a limited number of ‘buds’ to bloom which areas would we put them into?

Which areas would we take our resources away from?

Dr Cloud goes onto say that without the necessary endings of these buds we simply don’t get the best rose bushes. If we are aiming at the maximum potential of what we are putting our hand to, we need to examine everything else that we are putting our hand to as well.

Personally I found a few areas that probably need to be cut away so I can direct my resources into the best ‘buds’. It is hard to do this but as Dr Cloud says… absolute necessary.


What must end?

Posted: July 5, 2011 in articles

The end...

Yesterday I walked into Exclusive’s and a book title immediately grabbed me – Necessary Endings by Dr Henry Cloud.

I am not sure why it did but as I picked it up and went through a few pages I begun to think about the questions this book may open up around what I am committed to right now.  We naturally strive to take what we do to new levels, new phases or new seasons. We as human beings are excellent at jotting down a new idea, a new vision or screening pictures of ideals that we wish to achieve.

Newness is attractive.

But do we ever think of what of the ‘old’ must end?

Henry’s opening line is (I reckon authors must pour so much time into that opening line!)

‘Today might be the enemy of your tomorrow

What you are doing today and how you are doing it may be robbing you of the tomorrow you desire.

Some things may need to end.

He goes onto say that endings are a natural part of the universe and challenges us to look at how we see the endings which we need to face up to. Life has seasons, phases and stages.

Why then do we like everything to look and feel the same all the time in our businesses?

Growth can very often mean that we have to move on from something.

What really makes sense to me is that we may have had to do what we have needed to do to get us to this point but the success of that action does not mean the action should live into the future.

It may be time to kill it.

Given I am only on chapter 1 perhaps this blog can offer no finality on how you go about figuring out what must end and how to end it.

But perhaps, like me, you can begin to have a look at what is taking up your time right now and ask yourself the question:

If this were to end what could it potentially mean personally and professionally?

Your answer for each area / action / relationship / strategy / project may just open up a window to dealing with what needs to be dealt with in order to take yourself to the next level.