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Tree Cutter Vision

“We’re loggers – We’re not landscapers,” spoke the grandpa, who was also the leader of the close-kin gang of low-country men I hired to remove some pine trees on my quail hunting preserve. I had just explained to them that I wanted the trees cut so there would be about 100 feet between each tree. All I saw were question marks in ever eyeball. Then I walked around in the trees and showed them. I looked up as the group cocked their heads, squinted, grunted or grimaced after which their elder replied with ” we’re not landscapers.”

That’s when I thought, “I’m in trouble. They don’t get it. ”

So I asked, “How many of you have ever hunted quail behind a birddog?” One hand rose. It was grandpa. “Did you ever hunt in south Alabama or southern Georgia?” He nodded with a far away, good-days-gone-by look in his eyes. “Do you remember how those birddogs ran through the sage grass growing among pine trees scattered across the open land?” He grinned and nodded again. “That’s what I want this land to look like.” He stared at me. “Can you do that?” I asked. He nodded. Then he spit. (A nod followed by a spit means yes in logger lingo). He had the vision.

Two days later I got a call from his grandson, the only person who had cell phone. He said, “Grandpa wants you to come down and take a look to see if we’re doing right.” I went down. They were. After they walked me around and showed me what they had done, one of the leading cousins said, “Now, Mr. Mike, if you want to come down again, we’d be pleased to have you take a look anytime.” I did. In a little over a week, my overgrown pine thickets looked a lot like the southern plains. The outcome was not landscaped, but it was a marvel in their logging world.

The whole bunch of them seemed a bit proud of their work.

A positive spit was the giveaway. I’d like to think that maybe for the first time ever, at least a few of these worn-out tree cutters glimpsed their work as more than how many logs they could deliver to the sawmill. I hope they began to see their saws, bulldozers and drag ropes as tools to create something with good purpose. They made my dream become a reality.

Journal Entry: Do you sometimes feel like you’re just going through the motions? You are doing a good job and producing excellent outcomes, but you are not sensing real progress and starting to wonder why? Do you ever find yourself questioning your team, manager(s) or partner for their lack active engagement? If any of these situations ring true, maybe you need to reset your vision for a key relationship, your department, your team, your organization or even yourself. Doing this may not matter at all, but you never know – you might just turn out to be the best landscaper for your leadership and life.


Definition of a Landscaper: An artistic arranger of grounds

Inch by inch life’s a cinch – yard-by-yard life is hard. ~ Unkown

Where there is no vision, the people perish. ~ Proverbs 29:18 – Bible KJV

“Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie.” ~ William Shakespeare, playwright

“I always wanted to be somebody. I guess I should have been more specific.” ~ Lily Tomlin, comedienne

You never know when someone
May catch a dream from you.
You never know when a little word
or something you might do
May open up the window
of a mind that seeks the light.
The way you live (and lead) may not matter at all
but you never know – it might.

And just in case it could be
that another’s life, through you,
might possibly change for the better,
with a broader and brighter view.
It seems it might be worth a try
at pointing the way to what’s right.
Of course, it may not matter at all,
But then again – it might.

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