18 Apr 2017

All Healthy Things Grow


After the last few weekends, I think it is fair to say that Spring is definitely here!

If you weren’t BBQ-ing or enjoying the outdoors at the coast or park, a lot of you may have taken advantage of the weather, rolled up your sleeves and tackled the garden! With Spring comes warmer weather and rain showers; both of which are conducive to things growing.

I am not an avid gardener but I do understand the principle of what is needed for plants to grow – and to grow in a healthy way so that a fruit is produced – all healthy things grow.

So, if this can be said of plants, this can also be said of people; individuals, teams and organisations. As an individual, if I want to grow in a healthy way and produce fruit from what I do (in any aspect of my life), I need to make sure that I am planted in good soil and in the right environment, and that I have structure and support mechanisms around me to facilitate healthy growth.

If you are leading a team, department or organisation, then you have a responsibility to ensure your people are within a healthy environment to grow – you’re the gardener!


A Gardener Prepares the Soil

Before anything can be planted, the soil has to be turned over, fertilised and have weeds and stones removed. In the workplace, this means that your direct report, team or company has a safe, inspiring and encouraging workplace to operate in. There is open communication so no weeds can creep in (gossip or silos); there is an empowerment to flourish, create and innovate; there is training available in its many forms and coaching is present to challenge (weed) and stretch (water).

A Gardener Maintains the Soil

Any good gardener knows that this is not a one-off activity but it takes maintenance and on-going care; the same must be said of people – are those good things you put in place still in place and still working? Or has growth within your team halted? Perhaps some weeding or watering needs to take place.

A Gardener knows when to Prune

It always feels harsh to cut back a plant; however, a gardener understands pruning is necessary to allow a plant to stay healthy and productive for longer than one season. At work, this could be a refocus of resources (people or budgets) or a shift in business priorities to allow for long-term health and growth. Are people overstretched or lacking focus? Perhaps a realigning of priorities or a redistributing or resources could help to sustain healthy performance.

A Gardener Plants within a Structure

Be it a border, plant pot or flower bed, a gardener plants within a boundary or structure. Another structure is a trellis. Let’s use the climbing plant illustration because I like the idea that these plants can achieve great heights and still produce in a healthy way – just like people.

For a plant to grow high and healthy, a trellis is required for it to grow against. Within an organisation, systems and structures create the trellis for people to perform. They’re the safety nets and the parameters which cultivate ordered growth as opposed to dysfunctional, weak growth in all directions. Do you have systems and structures which facilitate growth or do they stifle it? Do they empower people within their function or pigeon-hole them?

Trellises are also the vision, values and culture of an organisation; do your people know in which direction they are heading? A gardener uses a trellis to guide the trailing plant to create not only something beautiful but also functional (think a shady canopy) and fruitful (think grapevine!).

How’s your Garden?

At the start of the Spring season, how’s your garden? Is it in a state which suggests healthy growth and fruit can be expected or does it need some care and attention?

Need a second opinion? Get in touch – we’re always ready and happy to roll up our sleeves and work with you to produce something productive, fruitful and healthy.