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THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Putting down roots



During a recent workshop, a client (owner) explained that a newly recruited manager was “putting down roots” and that those strong roots were embedding the manager into the business.


It reminded me of the bonsai tree that I have recently welcomed to my office at home.


My father kept bonsai in his later life and explained to me that caring for them gave him a sense of peace and tranquility in an otherwise hectic world - that was back in the 90’s.


Annie brought my first bonsai home a few weeks ago, after I mentioned that I’d like follow in my father's footsteps (and introduce something organic into my “neat freak” workspace).


So now I’m the proud adoptive parent of Zanthoxylum piperitum (Chinese pepper).


As I begin to learn the responsibilities of bonsai-whisperer, a careful examination of the base of my tree and the surrounding soil reveals a tightly-woven web of roots, literally hundreds of tiny capillaries, winding there way in and out, up and down, through and back the base, like a microscopic tangled fishing net.


My bonsai has put down roots that are embedding the tree into its surrounding environment.


What’s my job now?


Hydration - delivering a steady and controlled supply of life-giving water.


Nutrition - a weekly dose of extra nutrients to enhance the water supply.


Sunlight - making sure that my bonsai can enjoy the enlightening power of sunlight through my office window.


Trimming - managing the direction of growth by clipping and pruning.


If I don’t pay attention, invest time and fulfil my responsibilities - the tree will slowly decline and eventually die.


You will already have guessed my metaphor this morning - my bonsai is the equivalent of your manager(s).


Hydration is training - starting with the basics and educating daily as to your systems and processes.


Nutrition is feedback - weekly feedback meetings to add value to their work experience.


Sunlight is appreciation - catching your manager doing the right thing and making sure they know how happy you are about their progress. Letting them bask in your glow.


Trimming is promotion - by delegating roles to other rising stars in the practice, thus allowing your manager(s) to focus on their unique abilities.


If you allow your manager(s) to put down complex and long-lasting roots into your business, keep them watered, fed, well-lit and focused - those roots will form strong platform for growth.


A final point - bonsai care takes time. There is no fast-track or cutting corners.


Thus so with mentoring.


Take your time and enjoy the peace it can bring.


Slow is such a lovely change of pace.



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