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Growing Amidst Tremendous Change

October 2, 2013

It is undeniable that we live and work in a world filled with constant, often dramatic change. Regulations and de-regulations; new technologies that change the way we communicate; and an onslaught of smaller, bolder dynamic competitors from around the world are just some of the things that influence our need to change. Among all this, it is difficult to know what is the right thing to do.

For solutions to problems like this, I look to Nature. Being October, we can see dynamic changes from week to week played out among the tree tops.

Deciduous trees invest tremendous energy to produce broad flat leaves that help in ‘respiration’ and absorbing energy from the sun. When the days are long and full of sun, the investment pays off significantly and the trees grow. But as the days get shorter and cooler, the leaves become less efficient and the trees shed them along with seeds as they shift to a state of dormancy. We get to enjoy both the shade in the summer and the beautiful transformation from greens to yellows, oranges and reds in autumn.

But the largest and tallest trees take a different approach altogether. Coniferous trees – like the Sequoias in California can grow for 1200-1800 years and reach a hight of nearly 400 feet tall, with trunks that measure over 30 feet across – keep narrow, needle-like leaves all through the year.

Trees don’t have much of a choice in how they grow, but as business leaders; we do. And we can take cues from both.

Consistency leads to constancy . Look for ways you can develop the habit of consistency into your business – consistency in delighting customers, in your purpose, in making 5 sales calls every day, in valuable innovations, in attracting and keeping great talent, in training great leaders who will keep on being consistent, and consistency in making good investments.

But once we discover a promising innovation, we must invest large sums of energy and produce those broad leaves and make the most of the summer sun. We must then be responsive enough to cut back on these investments when their life-cycle begins to dwindle.

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