This week we are looking at leadership through a gardening analogy. Yesterday we talked about the importance of knowing your garden and planning (read it here). Today, we’ll look at preparing the soil.
Seeds will grow almost anywhere, but they will grow better in soil that meets the specific needs of the seed. Poor soil conditions create stress on seeds and plants. At best, they will survive without reaching their potential and at worst they will die. Stressed plants will be less resilient to environmental changes and more susceptible to disease and insect attacks.
Gardner’s prepare soil by balancing acidity, creating a loose mix, and adding nutrients. How does this transfer to leadership?
We can think of soil as being the environment our people work in. A poor environment is like poor soil in which people, and your efforts to grow them, will not be productive.
My good friend Steven Gross used the paradigm of flying conditions to describe four levels of organizational health, which he called Turbulence Theory:
For leaders, creating a healthy organization with mild turbulence is the best way to create an environment in which people can grow. We can also apply turbulence theory to people’s personal lives, with the same implications for growth.
So, how turbulent is your organization and the lives of the people within it? What can you do to “prepare the soil” by decreasing organizational stress?
Do good and be well,