When it comes to leadership are you a farmer or a gardener? How you look at it may determine your success.
The goal in farming is harvesting a crop. In farming, for instance corn, each field has plants that are all the same. They all come from seeds that are genetically identical, and therefore produce plants which all have the same needs. The goal of farming is uniformity, each plant producing the product they are designed to produce. To do that, the farmer gives each plant the same amount of sun, water, and fertilizer as the next. At the end of the season, the plants are ready and the field is harvested; the process starting all over the next season. In farming, the goal is to not have individual plants that deviate from the norm. A term that is sometimes used for those plants is weeds…
The goal in gardening, on the other hand, is harmony, creating a space that is a visual symphony, painting a beautiful, evolving picture. In gardening, there are all types of plants that can be brought into the garden. Tall plants, short plants, bushes, flowers, trees, (evergreen and deciduous), grasses, and bulbs. A garden is a year long endeavor, although, for instance in winter, where there might not be growth there can still be evergreen trees providing shapes and colors, and shrubs and grasses providing textures and depth. In gardening, each plant brings something different to the overall effect. The roses provide fragrance and color, the grasses texture and cover, the pines height and shade. To bring this symphony alive, the gardener must adjust the soils to the plants, fertilize each to its needs, water some heavy and some light. In short, in gardening, the gardener must treat each plant as it needs to be treated. If the gardener does this correctly, then there is harmony and beauty year round.
So my question to you is, as a leader, which would you rather be? Are you looking to produce uniformity and calculated growth? Or are are you looking to create a thing of beauty, where each plant plays it’s integral part, bringing alive something greater than the individual parts? How you answer this may determine your success as a leader. As for me, I am going to go tend to my garden….