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Plan like a gardener

There are particularly good times for taking stock and planning. The dawn of the new year, the frenzy of going back to school, the start or end of the fiscal year... Mondays!

For my part, I think that we can – and even should – do it with more human intelligence... taking inspiration from LIVING THINGS .

Think about the natural cycle  of SEASONS :

  • Do the exercise WHEN you feel the need  : at the end of a cycle , or when you feel scattered,  that you have time difficulty prioritizing;

  • Consider EVERYTHING that uses your energy in our ecosystem, making sure to account for   less visible elements, such as (sometimes long) periods of incubation, reflection and learning;

  • Allow yourself to be FLEXIBLE like the reed, with regard to the strategies and objectives sought;

  • Keep your eye on our North Star: INTENTION (by setting goals, but accepting that they can change).

Intention: management, the WHY of our project.  (Ex.: Improve the quality of life of our clients.)


Objective: a STRATEGY to accomplish our intention. In general, an objective is measurable.  (Ex.: Make more sales efforts.) 

Plan like a good gardener, in 4 organic steps

1. The head-heart-body assessment


Take the time to review, individually and as a team, where the energy was directed during the last period.

In order to pay attention to everything that happened (not just what was produced), I encourage my clients to think about it from three perspectives:

  • 🙆 Head  : What have you been thinking about this period? What were your learnings? What big questions did you ask yourself?

  • 💖 Heart : What are the decisions, the directions that you have taken? Have you grieved, integrated new things, created new connections?

  • 🤾 Body : What have you actually done, completed or accomplished this year?


The advantage: this exercise reveals more subtle elements , opens your eyes to what is emerging, and to certain results that we may otherwise forget.

2. The landscape with 4 seasons


From this list (head-heart-body), identify the main projects, which we will call PLANTS .

Now imagine being gardeners , and categorize each of the plants (projects) according to their place in the cycle of SEASONS :

  • ❄️ Winter : The ideas that cross our heads without us acting, and those that we have forgotten a little, like seeds to preserve and catalog;

  • 🌱 Spring : Our tests, the projects that have started, like the first fragile shoots that we observe growing;

  •  🌻 Summer : Projects that required work, such as the fields and orchards that we cultivate;

  • 🍁 Autumn : Concrete successes, learning and collaborations, which are the fruits we reap.

“I like to do this exercise with sticky notes (post-it notes) on a large sheet of paper. It allows me to have a global vision of where we are, here and now. »  

Contemplate the entire work, and take the time to ask yourself:

What was the real DRIVE behind these activities? In other words, what was your real intention ?

Surprise? It may be that this intention is ultimately not aligned with the “official” goal. It's so crunchy and tasty when it happens, it's a perfect opportunity to observe what has emerged naturally .

If, for example, your goal was to reduce your environmental impact, but in fact you spent much more time than planned organizing team meetings, perhaps the underlying intention was rather to create a synergistic team... and at this level, it's mission accomplished! Simply ask yourself now how, relying on your strong team, how to better address the issue of your environmental impact.


When a plant didn't produce the fruits we wanted, we don't blame the plant, we observe what happened in the ecosystem and we take the opportunity to adjust! 🎯

3. The gardener's action plan


Now that you see clearly, it's time to formulate your intention for the period that is starting, to check that the whole team is in agreement and that it is consistent with the real intention of the previous period.


Then, for each project plant, ask yourself what is the next logical step, respecting the natural order of the 4 seasons


For example :  

  • ❄️ Put a project on ice to better digest it;

  • 🌱 Start the pilot project that we have been thinking about for a long time;

  • 🌻 Manage our energy well to get involved in the direction we have just chosen;

  • 🍁 Take the time to collect learnings and measure the impacts of projects completed during last “summer ”.

4- Day by day: monitor the weather


In a complex, ever-changing world, EXPECT to need to regularly monitor and adjust your plan. I even recommend providing a mechanism so as not to miss it.


How often? It depends!

As a general rule, the more turbulence and unknown in the environment, the shorter the periods between check-ins should be. It's better to check your plan more often when you're lost in the forest in the middle of a blizzard... whereas in a straight line on the highway on a beautiful summer day, not as much!

For me and my clients, learning to nurture our projects, large and small, like a farmer, by listening to ourselves and with the same respect for the natural order of things, turned out to be transformative, and so much more enjoyable!

To help with regular check-ups, I offer you this easy-to-use tool to use regularly when things are changing.

Download PDF • 137KB

💌 To receive tools, tips, and practical exercises like this one, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter.


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