Pestilence and politics – Prepared for funding?

Pestilence and politics

One of the authorities on chafer grubs is me. Or at least I know significantly more about the subject than I did three months ago. In short, these pests are the larvae of future beetles or Maybugs who dine out on grass roots. They arrive the prior season courtesy of the outgoing beetle generation who lay their eggs in verdant lawns and let nature take its course.

What happens next is interesting. By eating the roots, the chafer grubs lay the seeds of their own destruction. The surface of the lawn turns yellow signposting to predators the presence of a tasty, nutritious breakfast. Weakened by the now absence of roots, the surface of the lawn is easily ripped by blackbirds, magpies, and crows. End of chafer grub and also the green sward as we once knew it. In fact complete devastation.

Believe it or not there are many lessons here for business. Chafer grub invasion is not dissimilar to the insidious impact of company politicians. They arrive unseen, unnoticed and uninvited. They gnaw away at the roots of the organisation causing extensive long-term damage to the culture, motivation, energy of the business, often rendering it ungovernable. Eventually the grubby politicians surface but it’s too late: the damage has been done. Unearthing and removal usually causes serious collateral damage as it may involve key people who have led or been caught up in the feeding frenzy. As with chufa bugs, they are a devil to remove.

So how the hell do you combat this insidious invasion? More lessons from my chafer grub experience. I knew nothing and trusted a so-called expert who misdiagnosed the problem and treated it with the wrong application. If I had known about the pests in advance, I could have sprayed the lawn with another bug that eats this bug or used bird scarers or got really down and dirty and used a now banned substance (by the EU of course). Action was either incorrect or too late and now I’m paying the price.

So it is with business. As a business leader you should assume that an outbreak of politics can occur at any time. Be prepared. Tell everyone it won’t be tolerated under any circumstances. Model best practice behaviour. If politics does surface, treat it as a mortal threat and take quick and decisive action. After all, it’s your business, your livelihood, your reputation. Trust your gut. Don’t be assuaged by others. If needs be, use the banned substances. Do whatever it takes. Like chafer grubs, company politicians don’t go of their own accord: they stay for a chuffing long time. Good luck.


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