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The mole in my garden

January 16, 2011
Mole Hills

Moles can undermine a good garden - so effective management is the key

As everyone knows, moles are a complete pest – and certainly the enemy of the lawn-man (or woman). A mole is rarely seen but its devastation is considerable: damaged roots, dead plants, mounds of earth and, of course, fewer worms. They serve by stealth to outwit man and corrode his ability to fight back. They damage garden strategy by malevolent and unseen tactics.

So it is in the workplace: brochures which are badly written; lists which are poorly researched; tasks which are avoided by team members; fraudulent commission reports; maverick salespeople.

Who is to blame? An inefficient gardener or a deviant mole? Truth be told, a mole will always continue to cause havoc unless it is dealt with. This puts the onus firmly on the gardener: put up or shut up. The same with the manager.

But of course, moles are animals; staff comprises people. People are in theory sentient beings and therefore can change their ways. So dealing with people is, in theory, less drastic than killing moles.

However, whereas a mole’s tactics are a condition of its existence, the behaviour of staff is often to do with something else: avoiding change and seeking the status quo. So staff “moles” can actually be quite exasperating. Indeed, as a manager, dealing with people is one of the most difficult of all tasks.

But in times like these, change is essential; the status quo is not an option. In industries like publishing which are notoriously inefficient and unprofitable, having moles in the garden is not an option.

Alas, the mole in my garden has one thing on its side: I respect its right to live more than my rights as a gardener. If it only knew this, it might be less deviant in its practices. It actually might work with me to help the garden be a better place for both of us.

But for the time being, I’ll let it carry on. He’s dug another mound this morning – slap bang in the middle of the lawn. Ho hum…

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