Horticulture and Your Organization
Growing a successful organization is like growing a bountiful garden. It requires a combination of vision, selection, feeding, nurturing and celebration. These questions will focus your energy and help to create gardens which yield unparalleled results.
- What is the purpose of my garden? Knowing the purpose of the garden, whether it is to enhance the beauty of a home or promote a community, provides the gardener with a guide for every decision. Similarly, an understanding of purpose, which is shared throughout the organization, plays the same role in leaders’ decisions.
- What will the garden look like when it reaches its full potential? The gardener is motivated by a vision of the end result, which makes it easier to decide the role that each plant will play. For leaders, a concrete vision of the elements of an organization facilitates the design of the organization, as well as the choice of people who will make it work. A powerful, exciting vision provides everyone with motivation to deal with the challenges of their job.
- What kind of plants will grow best in each area of my garden? A successful gardener is aware of the relevant environmental factors and selects plants suited to those conditions. Understanding the conditions of work in the organization, such as task, work pressures, processes and management, allows leaders to determine which personality style will most likely be successful in that environment. Then, a selection tool like Prevue™ can be used to assess the fit of individuals to current or future jobs. In addition, a review of education, training and experience makes it easier to place the right person.
- What and when do I feed each plant? Different seedlings require different fertilizers at different stages of their lives. It is the same for employees. It is important to provide the right training at the right time to allow each person to grow in their work and to blossom with exceptional performance. It is also valuable to look forward beyond the person’s current placement to their next opportunity. The best time to “feed” people with training is as they are about to use their new skills.
- How often should I refresh the plants with water? Gardeners know that plants vary in their requirements for watering. People are always refreshed in their jobs when they receive positive reinforcement about their actions and results. The best way to say thanks to people is to offer your expression of genuine appreciation about specific behaviours and results, timed closely to your observations.
- What can I do to minimize the elements that inhibit growth? The gardener recognizes that every plant can feel the impact of factors, such as weeds, insects or drought, which inhibit their growth. Employees face inhibitors too. Often, processes within the organization hinder people. One of the most effective things a manager can do is to assess the efficacy of every process and weed out those that no longer contribute to peoples’ success.
- Occasionally, people make mistakes that result in disappointment. This is a crucial time to help that individual recognize what went wrong; discover the power, within themselves, to overcome the error; and, to refresh them with positive reinforcement. If this support is ignored, the individual experiences a drought of success that can cause their confidence to wither.
- How can I see the unfolding success on my plants? Gardeners are masters at recognizing the milestones in the growth of a plant: the first shoot through the ground, the appearance of buds, the beauty of flowers when they burst forth. A manager can help individuals identify the milestones along the path to their success: achievement of each goal, measurement of significant results, effects on customers. In this way the employee can feel the joy of success many times and report it to their boss. Together, they can recognize the beauty of what the person has achieved and the new competencies they have developed.
People, like plants, bring beautiful results to the organization. The secret is to apply good horticultural principles to helping people grow. When they see a vision that excites them; when they fit well into their jobs; when they receive the right training; when they are nurtured throughout their growth; and, when they find reasons to celebrate their success, they create wonderful results and the organization stands out from all others in its neighbourhood.
May 1, 2008
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