The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

When strategies emerge

One approach to having a strategy is to start with knowing what one wants to create or achieve. Once that is clear, a direction is set, and the task becomes to figure out how to get there. There is a reference point that one can use to see the path and start walking the path. Then a map describing the territory can be established and off one goes.

The map can still contain errors, and the path might be more complicated than planned. One may even end up somewhere else and decide that it is okay to design a new journey from there. It’s a simple reality experienced while playing golf and one that will be repeated one hole after the other.

However such strategies will not always be available or desired.

When I look at the grass on the other side of the street, I imagine that it is a somewhat well-kept meadow. Taking a closer look, I’ll find a variety of patches. When these patches grow, flowers will sometimes appear. Weeds too. As he watches it grow, the owner has a few choices. He can cut it regularly without inquiring further about what it is that is growing, he can decide that some of the weeds are not desirable, or he can wait to see what other plants are appearing.

That’s a very basic strategy. It is based on an idea of how that patch of land is currently being used, and an idea of what is tolerable and what is not. Beyond this, there is an acknowledgment that there is no need to achieve a perfect patch of land where only grass grows. The existing mix is considered good enough.

In such a situation, while there might be an established way to cultivate the patch and values may be a motor decide what to do on an ongoing basis, it would be exceptional if someone knows what strategy is used.

It’s a situation in which taking a moment to stop and reflect can become especially valuable. It starts with taking stock of what it is that is present.

Over the season or the years, some of the patches may have changed to contain interesting or unusual plants. They may be more adapted to the soil, need less work, or have some other advantages. Such a visibility is when strategies can emerge.

Both approaches are useful. Both approaches have their drawbacks.

Letting plants grow without paying attention to the weeds or what is growing may eradicate the grass in that patch. That’s when things were left to drift. No one cared. The result may be a patch requiring a big investment to come back to a somewhat sustainable presence of grass.

Focusing on removing all the weeds or even other plants appearing has the reverse effect. With only one breed of grass allowed, there is no opportunity available to learn about other types of plants and one is forced to stay with what one has always done. There is no space for creativity and initiative.



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