I’ve had a few reminders of this metaphor in recent days, including actual cutting back the blackberry bushes on my allotment.
Every year I get a great crop from these bushes. And every year a minority of the bush branches become a problem. They grow rapidly, have vicious thorns, block the paths and bear no fruit whatsoever.
A bit like some people. They expend a lot of energy, sometimes with good intentions, but they are at best unproductive and at worst harmful.
What’s the solution? For the blackberry bushes the only solution is prompt, decisive action. If you delay they destroy the bramble patch in no time. If you only partially tackle the issue they come back more vigorously, more destructively and detract from the bountiful crop.
[Anyone sniggering about trimming bushes, keep it to yourself. I’m aware of the innuendo…]
On Saturday I was part of a team taking part in the Regatta for the Disabled (an annual event that I thoroughly recommend for families. Even if you don’t “race” the event field has loads of attractions and it is for a great cause. See http://www.regattaforthedisabled.org/).
One of our team members was very enthusiastic and expended huge amounts of effort in his attempt to power us to victory. Sadly, his paddle technique needed work, and all he achieved was to enthusiastically scoop water into the boat, drenching the two people behind him. Like an errant bramble, he needed some intensive training and coaching before the next race – otherwise he’d have been cut off at the stem!
This is not our team – I couldn’t be in the boat and photograph it at the same time…
I’d hazard a guess that in your work, your team or your business you have someone or something that reminds you of those problem brambles. How will you tackle them this week?