Bamboo is probably the fastest-growing plants on the planet with normal growth rates from 1-4 inches per day – up to 39 inches… in just 24 hours! While the tallest species of bamboo can grow up to 100 feet tall; the typical height of common bamboo in the US is between 15-40 feet. They typically hit their maximum height in a matter of 15 or so weeks, and if left alone; will maintain that same height for 30-50 or more years.
But compare this to the olive trees.
Being drought, disease, and fire-resistant; olive trees make for very different business strategy comparisons. Their strong and complex root system is capable of regenerating the tree even if the part above the ground is destroyed. While it takes at least 5-10 years for trees to begin bearing fruit; peak production won’t hit until 30-70 years; they can be expected produce fruit for 500 or more years!
It is easy to understand and follow strategies when it comes to plants. We expect bamboo to behave like bamboo; and olive trees to behave like olive trees. However, when we look at the design and functionalities of our businesses; it seems that we often want our business to begin with rapid growth; while resisting the challenges of competition and scarcity. Or we make some bold attempt to contort our bamboo sap into resembling something we can call olive oil.
Neither strategy is right, or wrong – as long only one strategy is used. Just like every fiber and cell of the olive tree grows to support the various functions of the tree and the fruit; so must every employee, staff member, department, and software system of your company. 100%.
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