Growing your business is both an art and a science. It involves so many moving parts, changing conditions, and threats from all sides that it almost seems like a company is “an actual living organism.”
But rather than diving too deep into a super-complex living organism like a bumble bee to explain group and financial dynamics, let’s start off with broccoli.
On Leadership and Vegetables
The inspiration for this article comes from my humble vegetable garden, which has suffered quite the recession this year. Located in St. Louis, MO, it saw nothing but high temperatures and very little rain.
However, my labor of love in gardening is finally starting to come back as the weather has cooled off,
And in the next few days or weeks, I should be eating fresh homegrown tomatoes, arugula, swiss chard and more.
While I am definitely not one to give gardening advice (can anyone tell me what to do about the green bugs eating my broccoli?), I have noticed some basic gardening concepts that apply to the way I run my business and the way I live my life.
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Rule #1: Plant Many Seeds
If you have ever tried to start a plant from seed, you know that planting one seed does not usually do the trick. You must plant multiple seeds to increase your chance of getting a healthy seedling to grow.
In business, you should follow the same principle.
My profession in Real Estate is not only a sales profession, but is about building long-lasting relationships. I keep my referrals strong and my customer-base happy by planting seeds. My seeds are small acts of kindness that take me little time and cost little money, but evoke a positive feeling from my clients.
A recent example is thank you cards I sent out to people that allowed me to feature them on my blog as part of a neighborhood feature.
When featured on my blog, people shared their favorite local spots with me and reasons they loved their neighborhood. In turn for allowing me to share this with the world, I sent them a $10 gift certificate to one of their favorite local places.
The first person that received the gift immediately emailed me to thank me and said this:
“Thank you SO MUCH for the gift card! You DID NOT have to do that!!! I must start sending you more referrals!”
Leadership Lesson: Plant MANY seeds
When you do this, some will grow and some won’t. The lesson here is “The more you plant, the more successful you will be.”
For other terrific ideas on how to wow your customers and client base by going above and beyond, I highly recommend reading the “The Thank You Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Values Sorting Exercise with Recalibrate Cards
Values drive decisions. Decisions drive behaviors. Behaviors drive results.
Rule #2: Weed Early and Often
You know the feeling… Its been hot, or rainy, or you’ve been busy…. But whatever the reason may be, you and your lawn have been on a friendship break and now you are kicking yourself.
Weeds have taken your grass hostage and all you can think is, why didn’t I attend to this sooner?
Many problematic issues we have in business (and in life) start the same way: They start as a little weed that could easily be pulled out. Many times, we don’t want to deal with the burgeoning issues in front of us in hopes that they will go way.
But alas, they find that if we had simply dealt with the issues sooner, and simply done the work to pull the weeds, that our lives would be much easier.
Now going back to Real Estate, I see this issue many times with homes that have suffered neglect:
- What starts out as a small roof leak has now turned into a ceiling collapse, stained carpeting, mold issues and more.
- What was once a home with a small repair is now a home that needs “We Buy Ugly Houses” to come to the rescue.
Its a simple principle, but easy to forget:
“Weed EARLY and OFTEN!”
Rule #3: Don’t Kill The Butterflies
I am still sad thinking about a particular situation of despair…
After a week-long trip, my husband and I returned to our vegetable garden to find our parsley plant completely eaten. In its place were dozens of long black and yellow bugs that were pretty gross!
My husband didn’t want the bugs to spread on to other plants, so he immediately pulled the parsley plant out of the garden.
That night, I went to do some research on our little infestation only to find that the bugs were black swallowtail caterpillars that turn into beautiful black swallowtail butterflies.
I read countless stories of how people specifically plant parsley to attract the caterpillars to their garden. If we had only known!
The moral of this story is this: Do some research and think before you act. Many times, issues arise that we think may be a problem, but could really be a great opportunity. All it takes is a little research and before you know it, you could be surrounded by butterflies.
How have you mistakenly jumped to conclusions thinking that your solutions are disguised as problems? How have you failed to take the quick actions to root out problems in their infancy as small weeds? How can you work to identify emerging problems as “weeds” so that you either eliminate them before they emerge or pull them early before they strangle your business? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Image Source: pumpkinorange.co.nz, picsondvd.com.au, en.wikipedia.org