My husband and I have been doing some home improvement projects in our backyard. We relocated a pencil cactus, planted in a dry, arid location by the previous homeowner, to make room for a deck. But, unlike the other plants in the castaway pile, this one didn’t turn brown and crispy. It laid on its side for more than a week, roots exposed, looking as green and hearty as it ever had. For those of you without a green thumb, this story is about more than gardening, so stick with me...
I potted the pencil cactus and moved it to the flowerbed on the south side. It was now in semi-shade.
A week or two passed. We mulched the flowerbed, and the pot was dragged into deep shade.
Another week passed. The sprinkler system was finished, the sod was laid... and the pencil cactus had wound up right next to a sprinkler head. There it started to grow—like crazy. Today, my pencil cactus is bursting with leaves, and occasionally, a tiny pink flower!
I wasn’t even trying to nurture this plant. Oh sure, I saved it from the trash. And I refused to listen to the neighbors who said “Oh, one of those plants, they’re good for nothing. They don’t even make a leaf.”
I can’t help but draw parallels with people. We’ve all known a person who just got along—doing what they were supposed to do, in the environment they were supposed to be in. But then fate stepped in—a job loss, a move to a new city, a friend who opened their eyes to new ways of doing things... a manager who looked at the person, and their strengths and said, "I see what makes you special; let's approach things from another angle." And suddenly, instead of maintaining their status quo, they changed. They flourished.
Take the time to look at your staff today. Is each sales person in the right position? Have you put them in a place where they are equipped to thrive? Or, are they in that dry, arid spot, struggling to do what they do best? Given a little nurturing, and special attention to their needs, how might they surprise you with their growth and change? How might your staff blossom?
Tina Rice is Course Keeper at The Center for Sales Strategy.