Toilets in the woods are bad enough. Using the “big leaf” approach to clean up, it seems to me, would make them even worse. I want my nice soft TP, a reminder of the comforts of home. But there may be one advantage to big leaves. When you are back-country, you usually don’t have an outhouse that you can throw the toilet paper down; you need to dig a hole with a shovel, bury the “output,” and bring the toilet paper home with you. Big leaves can go into the hole. Some wilderness areas take it a step further, requiring that you leave absolutely no trace—period. They do not want the wilderness area tainted with human waste of any kind. That means you need to pack out all waste. Eeww. Fortunately, I have only been places where I can dig a hole and bury it. I’m not even sure I would want to hike in those “absolutely no trace” areas. That might be the line in the sand for me. Each person needs to determine how they will follow the rules of any given forest, and within those rules, what “waste” they will pack out.
What stuff do you need to bury in a hole, never to be seen again? Bad attitudes, anger, assumptions, resentment, jealousy, and lack of patience come quickly to mind. Doesn’t that represent exactly what goes on in the fast-paced world of business? There is always “stuff” that needs to be cleaned up, and the need to eliminate waste often comes at an awkward time. If you don’t clean up the mess when and how you should, it usually comes back to bite you. If any of you have ever written computer code, you know that cleaning up your code and documenting it so someone else can work with it is essential. That clean-up process and the documentation that comes with it makes the code easier to debug, easier to expand upon, and easier to leave as part of your legacy. Where else is that true in your projects, desk, home, and personal life? How clean you leave things is a direct reflection on who you are and how you think.
Business is made up of people, and even the cleanest people carry baggage, make messes, and sometimes leave messes behind. “Leave no trace” isn’t a viable concept in business. What traces will you leave? Is your trace one of integrity, nurturing, faith, listening, understanding, and enlarging? Or is it about clawing your way to the top, winning at all cost, gossip, and demeaning others? We each make our mark on the business, the team, the customers, and the future of the business. Carefully consider what mark you are leaving and whether you need to change it.