Byproduct

Illustration by Ryan Putnam

Your product isn’t what you think it is

A green, flowering garden is pretty. It can also take a good amount of effort to maintain. The best gardens provide beauty, fragrance—even stuff to eat—and need minimal effort to maintain.

The good stuff — the output — of the best gardens, is set up to emerge naturally. By positioning plants that make use of one another’s byproducts in proximity to one another, the gardener gets time off.

The other factor is, of course, healthy soil.

Now, the output, which can be a commodity, merchandise, some sort of desirable outcome or effect — like shade — is what is ultimately desired by us people. In a smart garden, work is done to shape the ground to catch rainwater and we invest in great soil quality. The plants don’t need us quite so much when they have a healthy system that understands them. They’ll just do their thing and grow.

In a business, our desired outcome may be a quality product, sales growth, and a team whose productivity and happiness does not depend on individualized nurture. Behind it, you need good work. No matter what your output is, the good work is the core, and the output should be set up to emerge…

… as a byproduct of the good work.

By placing your focus on the work — the real product — a desirable commercial and cultural result can emerge with greater authenticity. By viewing your business’s output as its byproduct and by putting your energies into the work, the opportunities to achieve more, more easily, will increase immeasurably.

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Don’t be clever.

Don’t be clever.