Weeds and what they tell


I was once fortunate enough to run an organic market garden for a few years in my 20's. In that time I learned so much. I discovered the power of experimentation (organic, veganic, biodynamic, no dig and circle planting to name but a few) and observation, as well as the relationship between hard work and rest, the interplay between environmental conditions: sun and rain, heat and cold.


But one of the greatest insights was delivered by this book.












Two ideas stood out to me that I took into the corporate world.

1. A weed is simply a plant in the wrong place. Think about it: a prize wining rose in a field of wheat or soy beans is a weed, but in the middles of the Volksgarten Park in Vienna it is a prize specimen (I like the Pink Floyd in particular). A high yield grain is a weed in a field of tulips.


And as for plants so for employees. When there is a poor "fit", between employee and role, where is the right environment?




2. The other insight is that each weed provides an indication of the underlying conditions in the soil ( moisture, nutrients, PH etc.): Nettles indicate a fertile soil, poorly drained soil encourages dock weeds (too much water) and horsetail (too little water), Dandelions indicate an alkaline soil PH etc.


So it is for employees too: do your team hesitate to speak up? what are the drivers? (do you listen? do you ridicule?) or does your team play it safe all the time? (how do you respond to failure or unexpected - poorer that desired - results?).


To get the best from the land I had to prepare the soil each growing season. I needed regular rotation to not over farm one element or mineral. If a crop failed to flourish I looked at the environment to see what was out of balance (temperature, nourishment and water) NOT the seedlings.


Some plants needed special: care runner beans needed to be trained to climb, others needed regular feed to keep them growing. Just like employees.


How does your garden employees grow?



Shout out to Omar Rabi


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