A recent discussion with another HR consultant made me think about how as managers, we could consider our teams as components within a garden.


So for those gardeners out there, here are some considerations for designing a garden:

  • The style of garden you want, such as formal, country, contemporary, Mediterranean style
  • The type of soil and drainage
  • Planting the right things at the right time of year
  • What is already there that can’t be moved, such as large trees
  • The parts of the garden which are sunny/shady/part sunny and part shady
  • How much space for growth there is
  • Different areas within the garden, such as flowerbeds, vegetable patches, water features
  • How much maintenance you are prepared to do


You may be asking yourself at this stage, how can this possibly relate to managing my team, and this is a good question.


And the answer is………

  1. The style of your garden – the aim here is to recruit the right team members to reflect and support the culture and values of your organisation.
  2. The type of soil and drainage, and amount of sun/shade - take time to understand all members of your team, are they in the right role? Sometimes if someone isn’t performing well, it’s not because they are no good, it’s because they aren’t in the right job to suit their skill-set. Understand what each member of your team needs, to be really effective. This could relate to how they are best managed, or whether they work best in small or larger teams.
  3. The space available in your garden - do you have someone who has outgrown their role, or someone who is being overshadowed by another member of the team and could do with being moved to another role where they have space to grow.
  4. The specific areas of your garden – some departments need innovation and blue sky ideas, whereas others need detail and compliance. Consider whether the team members fit – a square peg in a round hole?
  5. Planting the right things at the right time – when recruiting new team members, take time to talk to them about their career aspirations. Understand what they are looking for and how you can support them in achieving their career goals.
  6. Flexibility – how flexible do you want their roles to be. Do you anticipate their roles will change/grow/develop over time, and if so, recruit someone with the ability and willingness to do this.
  7. Maintenance – this is vital to develop your team. Talk to them regularly about their career aspirations and support their development. Use mentors particularly to support those at the beginning of their career, but at all levels within your team. Give them continuous feedback on their performance. Be courageous enough to have difficult conversations if they are needed. Understand the individuals within your team, their styles and working preferences.



How can Jackie Adams Consulting help?

  • I can work with you to define your values and develop your culture.
  • I can help you recruit the right people – developing effective job descriptions and defining exactly what skills/competencies and experience you are looking for.
  • I can help you and your team to understand yourself and each other. The difference that this can make is phenomenal.
  • I can help you develop a coaching and mentoring culture to enable your team members to grow and develop.



Thanks to Valerie Blake for providing me with the seeds to grow this blog post!