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  • George Hulbert

Why delivering on the Broader Outcomes is like mowing the lawn

Updated: Apr 9

As we head towards the weekend, some of us lucky people will be wondering if the weather will be good enough to allow us to run the mower over our gardens - while others will no doubt be hoping for a massive downpour so they can stay inside and binge-watch Netflix...

Whatever your motivation level, it makes me think about how the Government’s Wellbeing Agenda is a bit like gardening. Yes. Really.


I must be thinking about this a bit too much - perhaps I should use the weekend to have a good old-fashioned lie-down and think about my life - but it strikes me that there are a number of similarities between mowing the lawn and how you should approach the Broader Outcomes, for example.


Bear with me.


Let’s start the engine on this terrific simile:


1. Have a plan – Do you start with the berm, or the lawn? Do you need to trim edges first and then mow, or the other way around? Do you have the right gear, and petrol in your mower? Fascinating questions like these help you plan your activity – as you also should when it comes to aligning with the Wellbeing Agenda.


You need to show in your regular communications and your RFP/tender responses that you have a company structure to deliver on the social, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes the government requires of you. This is not about unguided action; it’s about planned, structured, methodical activity.


2. Get out there and do it – stop procrastinating. Yes, you. Put down your phone and get to it. If you don’t put on the gummies and get outside, it ain’t gonna mow itself. In the same way, many organisations we have spoken to say ‘oh yes, we know all about the government’s social procurement agenda, we have it covered’ but then fail to give us a single decent example of what they have actually done about it. Plans without action are a waste of time, and there’s only one way to get into action: by doing it.


3. The key point: try to do a little, regularly, rather than a massive job once every few months. Have you ever tried to mow after a month (or two) of inaction? It takes an immense amount of effort, far more than the total effort required to do a regular mow every week or two over the same period. You end up sweaty, covered in grass and hidden bits of Nerf gun bullets that have been munched and sprayed into your skin.


In the same way, setting a steady tempo of action – making connections, running initiatives, using your team meetings to identify future opportunities – will make your life a great deal easier than suddenly trying to do everything at once (especially at tender time, when time is precious).


4. Go on, take a picture – now your garden is looking lovely. Send it to your mum; she’ll be pleased you’re taking care of your property. As will your government clients, if they can see that you’re doing things that align with what they want to see. In 2020 we are all photographers – we all have cameras on us at all times, and it takes less than 10 seconds to use it to record an event, activity, or result that delivers beneficial social outcomes. It’s not showing off, or being a tall poppy: it’s showing you are aligned.


And the result? A beautiful environment that you want to spend time in.


Unless you don’t have a garden. In which case it’s like learning to surf, or playing football, or, or …




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