Red onions & your people (oh, and a free gardening tip, you’re welcome!)

As an enthusiastic amateur gardener, I do love growing my own veggies – with varying success it has to be said!  Over the long Easter weekend, I decided to plant a few winter veg, one of which was red onion.  In my true enthusiastic amateur style, I got the seedlings, teased out each bunch of greenery (see, very technical term!) out and popped each one into the ground. Job done, or so I thought…… was only when I got the label to pop in next to them that I realized that I was meant to separate out each and every shoot and plant them separately and so I had to dig them all up and then separate each strand and carefully replant them 😬😂.

So, what the heck has that got to do with igniting people & profit?? Well, it turns out quite a lot, and I realised that planting those red onion seedlings was a great analogy for understanding the importance of engaging and empowering your people. And here’s why…..

Creating the right environment – before you even think about planting you need to ensure that you create the right environment for them, ensuring that there are good nutrients in the soil, fertiliser and of course water to help them establish and then to thrive and grow.

Providing an environment for your people that enables them to settle in, establish themselves, and put down their initial roots is critical to how they will thrive, grow, and perform going forward. 

Room to grow – throwing all the seedlings in together would have meant that there was no room for them to grow, they need their own space to thrive otherwise they would be forever fighting for nutrients and it would become survival of the fittest where a number would fail to put down their roots and grow.

This is no different to the workplace.  People need the space, and a certain level of autonomy, to be able to work and perform.  However, just like the red onion seedlings, they also need to have a team around them to support them and together to provide protection from things such as the weather – only maybe a bit more than 10 – 15cm space!

Ongoing support & care – even if they have an ideal environment, are planted with enough space to thrive the seedlings will still fail if they do not receive ongoing support and care.  They need enough water, ongoing fertilising and weeding around the seedlings to allow them to maximum access to nutrients.

This is no different to your people.  Ok, a few may beat the odds and thrive (often at the expense of others though) but the rest will likely run out of their initial reserves and will fail to thrive and reach their potential.  Providing holistic, appropriate support for your people  will drive engagement and empower them to grow and perform to the best of their ability, leading to not only individual satisfaction and self-actualization but drive business results.  The key types of support that make the difference are:

  • Having the right tools and resources to perform the role effectively;
  • Ensuring your people have a clear purpose –  communicating vision & goals;
  • Creating a culture of trust;
  • Enabling positive connections;
  • Prioritising the wellbeing of your people;
  • Development opportunities;
  • Open minded leaders.

So, take a moment to sit back and reflect on your business and your people…. 

Have you inadvertently planted the whole lot of seedlings together?

Are you providing your people the space and room to grow that they need?

Are your people getting the right support?

If this analogy teaches us anything it’s that by ploughing ahead without really knowing what you are doing will invariably have consequences – in this case taking much longer and ultimately jeopardising the success of my seedlings by double handling them.   Clearly the implications for a business are potentially much more significant and that is why it is well worth taking the time to lay the right foundations and having a framework for the support, care and growth of the people in your business.

Every business is different though and there is no one size fits all, but there is a “what fits” for your people, your culture, your business.

If you are keen to explore what fits for your business I would love to chat.  Jump on a free 30 min Discovery Call with me and let’s make sure that your seedlings thrive and grow!