Garden party

It had been talked about for the past years: some other owners and I wanted to get out of that array of green shades around our building. When putting the budget together late last year, we secured some funds for “landscaping”. Big word for our environment: until then, all we were doing was to order some trimming services. It was just feeling like a typical renewal of a contract without looking at other possible options. The only due diligence we are faithfully applying stays the same: getting three quotes, and checking some references. Basic, useful and reassuring as it is our own money.

At first, the president of the owners’ organisation was lacking interest in that project, thinking we would not have enough traction to engage other residents to volunteer to dig, clean and plant with us. To a different extent, this reminds me of a team manager not showing up at team meetings at all, or arriving late because he had an important call to make. Priorities, I guess. With that behaviour, there was a little chance that traction was going to happen. So, with a few other residents, we created a “gardening committee”. I know: another big word for the size of the dirt we wanted to deal with. We picked some brains: professional landscapers, architects and ours (the creative, amateur and dreamer ones). The idea that was once considered as a small initiative compared to the 10-year maintenance plan slowly came to fruition.

We had a plan with drawings, colour schemes, a list of reliable suppliers, a solid financial forecast (enough to plant more, later in the year, and fit a barbecue party with the residents). Even the president joined in the shoveling. The hot and sunny weather probably helped drawing interest and motivation in joining us playing in the dirt (yes, because it IS actually fun). Honestly, we did the basic to eventually build the momentum: like growing a project, a team or a business, nothing more. Yes, we spent too many meetings just talking about making it happen, dragging our feet with the assumption (and sometimes, the excuse) that we would not succeed because of so many bad reasons. I regularly hear that in some clients’ meetings, in spite of all the good intentions that, sometimes, transpire from the multiple discussions I witness.

Some conversations keep getting back to “We cannot say NO to our customers”. Ok… So how about saying YES to ourselves first, to our ideas. To grow out of the typical green tones, it just takes one mind to dare a bit bigger and further. It helps with some hierarchical support, and it still can happen without it. If it can work with a few rakes and a wheelbarrow…