A friend of mine texted me last Saturday morning. “Hey buddy. My wife and I have decided we want to plant a flower garden in our yard, and she told me to text you. I am at a garden center. What plants should I buy?”
Me: “I can’t answer your question yet. I need more information.”
Him: “We don’t need to make this complicated. Just give me some names of some solid plants that will be hard for me to kill.” (I promise I am not making this up!)
Me: “It’s not that simple. If you want my help, let’s chat on the phone, and I will do my best to help you.”
We went back and forth like this for a few more minutes. But eventually, he tired of me, and I assume he found someone else to help him make some quick, mostly uninformed choices. Which is exactly the kind of help he really wanted, I suppose.
Successful gardening is about a lot more than knowing the names of the plants. Getting anything to grow, in a healthy way, requires planning and preparation. And if I was truly going to be able to help my buddy with his garden, I first would have needed to know things like this:
- Have you picked out a spot for the garden yet? Will it get full sun, partial sun, or shade?
- What is the soil like? Is it well drained? A little sandy or rocky? Do we need to prep it a bit?
- Will the area get regular water? How committed will you be to watering the plants?
Before any would-be gardener puts anything in the ground, we first need to know about the environment for that would-be garden. Because the amount of sun, the quality of the soil, and the likely watering cadence all contribute to the environment for that garden. And based on the answers to those questions, we can then begin to choose plants that have the best possible chance of surviving and thriving in that environment. Not every plant will survive and thrive in full sun… or in shade. Not every plant will survive and thrive in sandy soil. Not every plant will survive and thrive with only occasional watering.
Different types of plants require different types of environments, in order to survive and thrive.
My wife and I love to garden, something I have written about here many times before. It takes a healthy amount of planning, preparation, and patience to cause something to grow, year after year. And over time, some plants may run their course, and need to be replaced. One of our gardens has grown quite lush over the last few years, and gotten crowded. We have had to move things around, make some space between certain plants, and continue to keep the environment of that garden bed healthy for all.
In other words, successful, beautiful gardens are an output of intentional planning, careful thought and effort over time.
Which is a lot like building a successful business or team. Just like a beautiful garden, a successful team requires planning, preparation, and at times, patience. In order for a team to grow and blossom over time, you must create a great environment. If you want great people on your team, you need to build an environment where they will want to be, stay, develop, and contribute.
You get the idea… the metaphor is not complicated. Successful gardens don’t happen by accident. Neither do successful teams. Which means the successful gardener pays close attention to the environment they are creating. So does the successful team leader.
Have a great day.
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