Perspectives: Gardening and Managing

I was never very good at raising potted plants or maintaining indoor flowers.

I was never very good at raising potted plants or maintaining indoor flowers. It wasn’t that I didn’t like to get my hands dirty. Heck, I still slide when I play softball and walk in the creek when I’m turning over rocks looking for crawdads. I just wasn’t attentive. The plants were pretty much left on their own until I noticed they were drooping and in need of a good drink. If I plant seeds in my yard and let nature take its course, rather than mothering them, I find that I almost always end up with beautiful flowers. I believe it’s because I allow them to flourish in their own environment. I allow them to feel comfortable (if you can do that for a plant).

This concept seems to work in several finishing facilities I’ve visited recently. Instead of hiring people that require constant attention and direction, these companies invested in people they could empower. Sure, they gave them some guidance and tools, but they don’t have to baby-sit their employees.

The employees are not simply there to make a wage and go home. They are part of the company team. Instead of a hierarchy of management, there is more of a horizontal approach to the company’s setup. Each department is “expected” to fulfill its responsibilities. If a customer needs help, whoever is with that customer takes responsibility for seeing that the situation is handled to the customer’s satisfaction…even if it was out of his/her department.

No one says, “It’s not my job.” No one gets jealous of someone for stepping in and helping out. All the employees know that they have the power to do what it takes to make the customer happy, keep production flowing and make things right. It is because they have been put into an environment where they can flourish and work together that the company succeeds. They are not limited. New ideas are supported and encouraged. The employees are the company.

In the spring, my lawn is awash in yellow. Dandelions cover the entire yard, and I think it is beautiful. I don’t spray anything because I might hurt or kill the snakes, frogs, birds, deer and raccoons that feed and live in my yard. They all work together. By June the dandelions are gone (much to my neighbor’s pleasure), and the birds, snakes and frogs eat bugs that might dare creep into my house. The yard looks green; my house is bug free; it’s a smooth running operation when each is allowed to do its part.