Like a garden, the workplace thrives on diversity and patience

The rewards of achieving something after peril sometimes feel greater than unearned validation.
The rewards of achieving great things with dedication and proper efforts along the way are received with pride and greater satisfaction.

By Lisa Cefali

Every spring, I spend time in the garden. There is something about taking the tired, dry look of winter and turning it into something new and vibrant. I usually take Thursday and Friday off so that I can spend four days straight preparing, planning, planting and watering.
I take note of which perennials didn’t survive; I consider the colour scheme that I want this year; and off I go to buy all the bedding plants and supplies I will need.
Once the planting is complete, the important part begins with nurturing the garden and all the planted pots. Watering with regularity, weeding often, and dead-heading the petunias to ensure maximum blooms and colour are a must.
My favorite part is the month of July, when everything is bright, in full bloom, and my plan and all of its efforts have come to fruition. There is no place for you in gardening if you don’t have the belief that hard work and effort yields great results.
You have to want the end result; you have to make a choice to plant a garden and live up to the commitment it takes. The effort at the front, and all the care along the way, brings you to the point when you can enjoy the fruits of your labour – whether they are actual fruit, flowers, or vegetables.
So what about at work? Are gardens really being planted? Or does everyone just focus on the fruit and assume it will be there? Some cultures consist of orders being barked from the top, passed along and translated into sales numbers or objectives that must be met – without a lot of attention to how they get done, but simply that they get done!
It’s easy to go up to an apple tree, pick the apples and bake a pie. It is just as easy to head to a florist and buy a bouquet of flowers. However, being handed a package of seeds or a seedling and having to be responsible to create the fruit – that’s a lot of pressure and a lot of hard work. Yet, the rewards of achieving great things with dedication and proper efforts along the way are received with pride and greater satisfaction.
As in gardening, there are controllable and uncontrollable factors in the workplace. We find natural gardeners and those who will never have a green thumb. Within the workplace, the same scenario exists.
What is your workplace like? Are there strong managers and a culture of planning, planting, weeding and nurturing? Perhaps it is the processes that can be challenged and weeded out and more efficiency can be created. After all, if certain things are done on a daily basis simply because they have always been done, but with no other purpose, removing them leaves room for the healthy, more prosperous projects to flourish.
Are individuals being mentored? Is professional development and training being offered? They are to a team what fertilizer is to a garden. It can only strengthen and fortify the end result.
A beautiful and healthy garden is one that is made up of some diversity – there are plants that play a role in ground cover, plants that grow as cut flowers, plants that will bloom later in the season, and plants of various heights to add dimension to the garden with texture and colour.
Of course, you then must determine and appropriately so plant those that need partial sun versus full sun, otherwise misplacement occurs and nothing flourishes.
The same can be said about the workplace. Now is definitely the time when multi-generational workers find themselves on the same team. Each person has a purpose. Some act as annuals – change agents perhaps, or a contractor that is added to the mix provides a level of expertise that is appropriate to the team.
There are others who act as perennials, playing a different function on the team. Perhaps they are able to provide the knowledge and experience that grounds the team or they provide reoccurring revenue that will support new ideas for the future.
Embrace the diversity of the team. Accept that throughout the seasons, certain roles will take the lead, while at other times, will play the secondary lead (or go dormant), but only for a while. A garden that is only made up of one variety that comes up all at once is not a garden that creates an atmosphere of excitement and interest.
A true gardener knows that the measure of success is to have created an ever-changing environment of new growth and substance to meet the longevity of the full season – now and into the future.

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