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See your company as a bonsai tree

by | Feb 25, 2019 | CEO Role, Exploring Alternatives, Management Issues, Profit Improvement

As the CEO, you’ll always be searching for improved results. It’s  a continuing process with no endpoint. Here’s a useful mental image that might help you maintain the right focus.

A useful image

Think of your company as a bonsai tree. Imagine what you’d like it to be, then spend the next few years tending it — relentlessly.

You can’t take hedge shears to your company, nor can you use the shears on individual employees (though you may feel tempted to do that on occasion).

But you can make progress one step at a time. Just like tending a bonsai, you’ll need to have a sense of where you’re going — and what shape you want your company to take. Then you can make a snip here and do a little watering there — over and over again.

Snip by snip

Tend your company like a bonsai.

Patiently. Steadily, Step by step. One snip at a time.

The old image

Not so long ago, the popular conception of a CEO was heroic — almost swashbuckling. Decisive, forceful and all-knowing. That model hasn’t worked for some time — if it ever worked at all.

If you’ve been a CEO for even a little while, you’ve gotten over thinking that way. Being focused and persistent will get you much farther, much faster.

And that’s why it’s helpful to have the bonsai image for your company. Evolving steadily — but never completely finished. Focus on what you want the outcome to be — what you want the bonsai to look like. Keeping that image in mind will help you retain clarity as you go about your tasks.

What do you want your company to look like?

You have a business to run. There’s nothing to be gained from turning this process into a dreamy examination of the distant future. But it’s likely that your business will need to make some changes — and will look different in a few years.

  • What products or services will you be offering?
  • What markets will you be serving? What will your customers look like?
  • What will your sales effort look like? Will you need different salespeople or different selling skills?
  • What capabilities will you need? What technical skills will you require? What will your workflow look like?
  • Will your staff require new skills or added training?
  • Will you need more space? A different kind of facility? An added location?
  • How will you pay for all the changes you have to make?

Step by step. Snip by snip

No one else has a roadmap for your company’s future. That’s why you need to develop your own clear sense of where you’re aiming, and what your company will look like as your plans unfold. You won’t be able to map out every step, but you should still have a sense of where you’re aiming to go.

That’s why you need to think of your company like a bonsai tree. Look at it. Think about it. Give it a little water. Do a little snipping here, let it continue growing over there.

Step by step. One snip at a time.


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