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Gardeners Not Mechanics: How to Cultivate Change at Work


About the Book


Gardeners Not Mechanics: How to Cultivate Change at Work is a pioneering exploration of how sustainable change can be cultivated in today's unpredictable and interconnected work environments.


The book pivots around the core idea that modern organizations behave more like ecosystems than machines. This paradigm shift necessitates a change in approach from a mechanic - who tries to control and predict - to a gardener - who nurtures and adapts. The book presents a fresh perspective on change management and offers practical insights on embracing uncertainty and promoting lasting change at work.


Key Concepts


The failure of traditional "change management" approaches to deliver sustainable value

The three key characteristics of ecosystems: unpredictability, interdependence, and limits of control

A unique framework for thinking like a gardener, entitled "The Elements of Gardening"

Book Contents


The book is structured into two parts:

  • 'Core Concepts' and

  • 'Elements of Gardening - Examples and Exercises'.


In the first part, you'll find chapters like "Machine or Ecosystem" and "Ecosystem Characteristics" which set the stage by examining why conventional change management often fails and exploring the vital attributes of ecosystems.


The book's second part provides a practical, step-by-step guide on cultivating change through the "Elements of Gardening" framework. These include planning with a shared purpose and vision, preparing the soil through stakeholder mapping, effectively planting changes, and pruning to ensure healthy growth. There are also lessons on weeding out elements that don't fit, watering relationships and details, staking for support and constraint, ensuring good health, and celebrating your harvest.


Each chapter is filled with real-world examples, personal anecdotes, and actionable exercises that can be applied to your change initiatives.


Who Should Read This Book


This book is for anyone who wants to facilitate meaningful and lasting change, whether in their organization or personal life. It's for leaders, change agents, managers, consultants, coaches, and individuals ready to ditch the mechanic's toolbox and pick up the gardener's trowel. If you're prepared to view the world of work as an ecosystem and learn to navigate change as a gardener, this book is for you.


Where to Buy


The book is available in hardback, paperback and Kindle from all good bookstores.

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Or simply search in your local Amazon Marketplace

Amazon Reviews

“This book undresses the king: we can't really know exactly the final or desirable state of things exactly, and we can't perfectly plan and stick to that plan all the way without changes. Instead, create a plan, prepare the conditions, and rely on other people to complete your plans, while you're doing everything you can to support and direct them.

It requires a mind shift, that initially makes you feel that you have nothing under control - but then shows you that you can influence a lot, and how powerful that is."
- Costas B.
"As a management consultant with a similar set of work principles, it’s rare to come a across a book that adds real value, examines change through a new lens, and offers genuine new ideas - and yet with this book, Gary takes the reader on a journey based on real experiences and gets us thinking about how we should think of our work as a gardener, rather than a mechanic. Both me and my current client will be benefiting from this on Monday morning."
- Matthew A.
“Just finished this fabulous book. Now, your definition of a fabulous book might be different to mine. For me, there are 3 essential elements;

1. A title that draws me in.
2. Content that makes me rethink whilst reading.
3. And lastly, ripples of reflection stay with me after I have closed the back cover.

Gardeners Not Mechanics by Gary Lloyd ticked all three.”
- Derek H.

"The most unexpected and practical approach to change I have ever read!"

“Really interesting, never obvious, light and deep at the same time, very practical and effective!
It features plenty of very good, real life, examples, while it also builds on solid academic findings, from where it elaborates something completely new about how to address and manage change!
I loved the fact that the reader is prompted to do his/her own exercise at the beginning of the book.
Each reader has his/her own change challenges and is desperately looking for an effective way to deal with them: he/she will find unexpected responses throughout this book!"
- Daniela B.

"A new way to look at work."

"For anyone seeking to orchestrate positive change in their organization, I highly recommend this book.

"For most of my life, I've mostly been a mechanic. I see a problem and I fix it. Well, at least, I try to fix it. Many times I've not only failed to fix a problem but I've also made it worse. This book showed me why.

I'm forever grateful to Gary Lloyd for writing this wonderful treatise on effecting change in the workplace. It's helped me to forward my career and relationships, by showing me the interconnectedness and complexity of organizational structures, and how to work best within them."
- Matthew H.
“s a change professional, this book really resonated with me and my own approach to change and indeed life. It is a very digestible read based on personal experiences from a pragmatic practitioner and peppered with just the right amount of academic references and management models. A great book for someone wanting to understand organisational change and how to approach it pragmatically. I would recommend both as a read and as an approach! 5 stars at its managed to keep me glued to it all day, great way to spend a lockdown Saturday!"
- Ian H.
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