Thursday, May 23

Organizational Flowers and Gardeners

A friend’s analysis of relationships is that every relationship needs a gardener.  According to him, two gardeners can make it; a gardener and a flower can make it; but two flowers will never make it.  Gardeners can't help themselves--it is their nature to try to improve whatever is within their influence to do so.  His analysis came to mind this morning while I was walking my dog past the beautiful gardens of neighbors Val and Dottie Hawkins.  They have not only beautified their corner of Old Town, they have created and tended breathtaking borders of iris, roses, and peonies along an adjacent parking lot, shown in the photo.  Really, now, how many people would do that?  And their gardener ethos is visible in the many boards on which they serve in our community, the numerous people they have helped, and the wise leadership and vision they have generously given our city.

Just like relationships, organizations need gardeners—people who will till and plant and weed and water until the fruits of their labor materialize.  Gardeners are often not the highest profile individuals in their organizations, yet organizations could not thrive without them.  Imagine hiring and nurturing people who will find potential to be tapped and do whatever is necessary to bring that potential to bloom.

Identify the gardeners in your organization, connect them with one another, encourage them, and see what grows. Strive to be more of a gardener than a flower, looking for ways you can contribute, using untapped resources within and around you.  You will find personal satisfaction in knowing you have created something beautiful and useful out of very little, regardless of whether others recognize and praise your accomplishment.  Here’s a salute to the unsung heroes of every relationship, organization, and community—gardeners like Dottie and Val whose nature is to give more than they take.

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