I think that you shall never read a blog as lovely as a tree.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a love affair with trees, forests, gardens, and all things green. You can keep your beaches and oceans; give me the mountains and rolling hills. As a child in Sunday School class, I had trouble wrapping my head around why Adam and Eve weren’t perfectly content in the Garden of Eden and wanted more. I grew up literally hanging out in trees. In the house of my youth, we had a stunning, expansive Copper Beech with the perfect branch structure to provide a hammock to lounge in while daydreaming or reading. Today I live right off the Appalachian Trail with my pack of rescue pups and every time we hike I think to myself, “I do believe I could live right here, right now and all would be right with the world.”
Threats: Watch for pests and invasive species. If we send physically sick co-workers home when they have the flu or a virus, why do we let people stay in our organization who display a toxic attitude or unwillingness to engage? In leadership literature, the term emotional contagion refers to the influence of our affective states, or emotions, on the workplace atmosphere. Attitudes are contagious; so make sure yours is worth catching. If you have stinkin’ thinkin’ happening, make sure you quarantine it before it blights your productivity. Never forget, there’s no such thing as a company problem without a first and last name.
As much as I adore trees, it's people we must interact and collaborate with to get things done. There are, however, many lessons we can learn from our foliaged friends. Here are six ways to preserve your organization as a diverse and rich habitat:
Pruning: Pruning is a necessity. From time to time, we must review our programs and personnel and take a keen, objective look at what is working, what needs revamping, and what needs canceling. As with all renewal, you must cut away the dead, diseased, and dying to prepare for explosive growth. Often a crisis or downturn is an opportunity to lop off the areas that are not fruitful or producing the desired results. Skip this step, and you will waste your most precious resources and strangle out the right ideas and people. Remember, hurtful is not the same thing as harmful. Short-term pain is often a requirement for long-term gain.
Rotation: Just like crops, people need to be rotated too. Be sure and rotate your team members so you do not create a fallow fellow. Job rotation allows resources to refresh. It gives your team members a fresh perspective and hinders the development of biases, assumptions, and blind spots. It also ensures a deeper breadth within your organization and prevents burnout. After you reap, you must rest. This is why we have term limits and Sabbaticals. None of us can stay fruitful without going back to the well. We all must recharge, and job rotation is a great way to stay fresh and creative. It also allows new life to come into the organization.
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “You’ll be the same person five years from now that you are today except for two things; the people you meet and the books you read.” Want to build a better organization? Fill those seats with tremendous people and read tremendous books together. It won’t take long before you begin to feel and see the effects of clean living on your environment. Put only the purest of things in your mind because there’s enough dirt and filth in this world to choke us all. Remember, the stronger you are, the stronger your people will be, and you will see a tremendous forest through the trees!