"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
We either are “green and growing”, or we are “ripe and rotting”. Change is inescapable.
Since March of 2020, we have been in a state of massive and constant change. We do not know from day to day or even moment to moment what change we may face. We recently celebrated July 4th - Independence Day in America. I am reminded of the growth and many changes of this great country from its birth 244 years ago.
Summer in Arkansas means fresh tomatoes and hopefully a bacon and tomato sandwich. If you have never tried this, it is a must! I have had a few tomato plants in my backyard. I am not much of a gardener; I don’t have the patience. But I have planted tomato plants and a few other vegetables. Because of my lack of patience and attention, a few survive, and some do not make it, and they die.
Oftentimes, I have this one dying plant which was my best looking one. It was green, and it was growing. But something happened. It stopped. And now it is rotting and withering away. Something changed for this plant. I am not sure if it was too much rain, or not enough rain, or too much fertilizer or not enough. Maybe it was the mole rats that are wreaking havoc on my yard. Whatever it is, it is evident that once growth stops, change is inescapable.
As leaders, we are a lot like these plants. We either are green and growing – maturing and producing new fruit - or we fall into the mediocre average way of living and leading, and we begin to wither and die. Now I don’t mean we literally die, but our influence does not prosper. Our leadership does not multiply and produce fruit for others. Our impact is not felt anymore.
What about you? Are you withering under the hot sun of leadership challenges and changes occurring in your world? Or are you growing and learning new ways to lead and watching your fruit produce new leaders who can implement change down the line from your influence?
Now is not the time to stop and wait for things to change. They are changing right before our eyes. We can create the change we desire, or we can be forced to change into what others want.
As a leader, one of your top responsibilities is to be a “change-agent”. I often sit in on meetings with leaders who come into the meeting and “report the weather” of their department and their teams. Usually, it is the same old boring report given week after week, month after month, quarter after quarter, and year after year. And then this same philosophy is applied to annual performance evaluations, just regurgitating the same old tired story as last year.
Do you know what is exciting? Leaders who CHANGE THE WEATHER, not just give a weather report.
I love to hear leaders come into a meeting and talk about the lives they are changing, the processes they are changing, the finances they are changing, and the leaders they are developing because of the life-changing conversations they are having in their teams.
THAT GETS ME FIRED UP! These are leaders who are living FULLY ignited!
Are you growing yourself?
Are you growing your team?
Are you producing fruit that is good for the organization?
Great leaders don’t think of the tasks they have to get done. Great leaders think of people they can serve, who will get all the tasks done in a more prosperous way. The only way you can do this as a leader is to grow yourself. Be a river of this new knowledge and not a reservoir holding it all in to control others. Share what you learn, share what you know, and teach others how you do it.
When you do this, you will have a green and growing garden of talent, and others will want to come and join your team.
Lead Up Exercise
Are you green and growing, or are you ripe and rotting?
If the latter, what are you going to do about it?