Monday, July 30, 2012

The Business of Sunflowers

Okay - so I know it is a flower-y title.... but it's the truth.  Here are sunflowers from my backyard. How does this relate to leadership?  Here you go:

Two years ago, when we moved into the house, I planted sunflowers in a different location not knowing that they would be tormented and eventually broken by constant wind in our crazy Southwestern Ontario Summer thunderstorms.  I was able to salvage a few, but not a lot.

Last year, I decided to try growing them inside in the late winter from seeds, to get them started and hopefully more hearty by the time they were transplanted.  I started this way too early and they overgrew the peat pots and did not flourish at all when transplanted.

This year, I planted seeds (a little later than usual) and watered them.  The were planted against the back fence and have shelter from the wind and perhaps a little more support because I have tied some to sticks to keep them from falling over (I learned that from my tomatoes & my dad!).  Now I have 8 plants growing well - as you can see from the photo - and flowers starting to bloom.

Lots of story to get to the point.  There are actually 2 points.

  1. People:  look at your team/partners/organization - what have you done to foster the growth you need?  Have you been a victim of doing things the same way all the time to develop the people around you....when they are unique, have unique talents & needs, develop at different rates and differently by environment in which they are placed?  Have you promoted people too early or too late and lost them along the way?  Have you surrounded new leaders with the wrong support?
  2. Business:  are you constantly looking for ways to improve your yield?  Are you learning from mistakes and developing yourself at the same time?  Are you using best practices from your past experiences, the experiences of others; from other businesses including your competition?  Are you anticipating risk opportunities and preparing to meet them head on (think thunderstorm)?
See.  I had a point to make with the business of sunflowers.  Lessons are everywhere.  By sharing our lessons we can all learn and grow. - see photo!

What is your biggest lesson this Summer? Share, please!

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