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Grow Your People, Grow Your Business: The Seeds of Greatness

Grow Your People, Grow Your Business: The Seeds of Greatness

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Grow Your People, Grow Your Business: The Seeds of Greatness

155 pages
1 hour
Apr 26, 2016


The Seeds of GreatnessTM I believe that every human being contains the seeds of greatness. This doesn't necessarily mean that everyone will grow up to become a CEO or President. It does mean that every person out there has the potential to become the best me they can possibly be.

When the seeds of greatness start to sprout, all kinds of wonderful things start to happen. As individuals begin to grow they start to do better work, they begin to do every task to the best of their ability which helps them to grow faster and stronger. Eventually they begin to flower and set fruit. They start to expand their abilities and knowledge and become better. And then just like vegetables need to cross pollinate in order to bear fruit, they begin to look at others and see how by helping them they can also help themselves.

While some seeds have the ability to grow wherever they land, usually the seeds for the most desired plants need to be planted correctly and then tended with loving care to get them to grow and produce fruit. As a manager of people, you have the opportunity to provide fertile soil, water, nutrients, and needed supports to help your people grow. And as they grow, you will grow also. Over time, they will nourish you as you have nourished them.

I believe that every human being contains the seeds of greatness. I love to farm people and help them to develop their greatness. If you would like to do the same, then this book is for you!
Apr 26, 2016

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Grow Your People, Grow Your Business - Karen Jett


Organic Vs. Non-Organic

Values-Based Business Development

The first big decision farmers must make is whether to farm organically. This must be decided up front because it impacts all future decisions, such as where to plant, which seeds to select, how to fertilize, and what to do if plants attract pests or get the blight.

What does this have to do with you, as a manager of people? Well, the first decision a manager should consider is whether or not to manage organically.

Managing organically translates into values-based management. Making this decision early on helps because it impacts all future decisions, such as who to hire, how to train, what to train, and what you’ll do if an employee doesn’t seem to be working out.

Ideally, the organization that you work for already has clearly defined values and has taught you how to put these values into action to make decisions. Unfortunately, only a small number of companies have done this.

But wait, are you skeptical that an organization can even have values?

For many years, business theory was predicated on the idea that businesses were inanimate beings that had no values and could not be held to the same standards as a person. Not only is this theory flawed, it’s dangerous. This theory permits companies to plunder our resources, pollute the earth, and rip off consumers and investors with very few consequences.

Pick a business – it may be one you work for, one you want to work for, or one that operates down the street. It may be a huge conglomerate, a franchise, or a small mom-and-pop shop. Regardless, all businesses have one thing in common – guaranteed! Can you guess what it is?

All businesses were started by and are now run by people. One or more people are in charge. Other people work under those managers, who oversee even more people – and hundreds, or even thousands, of additional people run around completing everyday tasks that earn money for the company.

So, if a company is made up of people – people who all have values – shouldn’t that organization have values as well?

Ideally, an organization looks within itself to locate its unique values. These values may be lofty: We give back to the communities in which we operate. Or, these values may be imminently practical: We operate to earn a profit.

But frequently, these values are somewhere in-between: We value diversity in the workplace and in the marketplace, and therefore work to ensure that minority opinions are understood and considered before making all decisions.

To be clear, all organizations have values. And employees will pick up on them, given enough time. If individuals disagree with the company’s values, then they may insert their own.

The organic business distinguishes itself from the everyday business by identifying its values up front and then using those values to make future decisions.

If you are fortunate enough to work for an organic business, you’re already aware of it. During your job interview, the company presented its values to you and sought your feedback. If you weren’t comfortable with these values, then you weren’t the ideal employee for the job. These values were part of your orientation process, and are part of every major business decision. They serve as a touchstone for all of the company’s activities, every day.

Since less than 10% of businesses are organic, it is likely that your company doesn’t fit the description above. The firm you work for may fit anywhere on the continuum between completely organic and completely non-organic. Some companies may have identified their values, but do not use them widely. Others may not have identified their values at all. Still others may wonder what function values serve, other than to slow down their growth.

Don’t let this alarm you – all is not lost. Even in a non-organic work environment, you can still strive to become an organic or values-based manager.

Values are a big arrow pointing all employees in the same direction.

During my career, I have worked at companies that had less-than-pure values and at one with fairly high values. But none of my employers had clarified and written down their values. How did I know what the values were? I watched the people in charge.

In one company, the main value was: We do whatever it takes to amuse and line the pockets of the owner, at the expense of everything and everyone else. Another company’s value was: We do whatever it takes to meet the customer’s needs, remembering that we need to make a profit so that we can continue to meet the customer’s needs in the future.

In the first company, my personal values (hard work, honesty, and doing things correctly) were much higher than the corporate values. Because I need to live with myself for the rest of my life, I substituted my own values for the organization’s. At times, that choice was challenged and ridiculed for being different. In fact, many other employees did not particularly like me. Over time, I learned to ignore this. Though they may not have liked me, every single person in that company trusted me. I was a values-based employee.

In the second company, I was able to infer values consistent with my personal values. I used these values to make decisions and to lead my staff. When I made decisions that may not have been popular, everyone in the company knew that they were based on the company’s values. I was a values-based manager and that was rewarded with numerous promotions and raises.

The main difference in these two examples is that as a values-based manager, I was able to work with the company’s values rather than just my own.

I like to think of values as a big arrow pointing all employees in the same direction.

When values are not clear, everyone in the organization may pull in different directions, frequently motivated by self-serving desires.

I have to make these numbers in order to keep my job, so I’m going to do it by whatever means necessary.

I intend to win that trip to Hawaii for highest sales – even if I have to undercut other sales people in my department to do it.

If I find a way to bring this project in under budget, maybe I’ll finally get that promotion I deserve.

When values are clear, everyone in the organization pulls in the same direction. They are all motivated and guided by the same stated values. It’s much easier for a company to grow naturally and move forward at a steady pace when everyone is pulling together, in the same direction.

As a values-based manager, you are in a unique position. You have the ability to make sure that as many people as possible are pulling in the same direction. At the very least, you can make sure that everyone under your leadership is pulling in the same direction.

Your company has values – learn them and lead them. As a values-based manager, you have two choices if the company’s values are less than desirable: raise the bar in your area of influence, or move on.

You have a decision to make – do you plan to manage organically?

Quick Tips to Grow Your People:

• Decide whether you are ready to manage organically by making decisions based on values.

• Determine your employer’s stated or implicit values.

• If your employer’s values tie in with your own, learn them and live them.

• If your values don’t match your employer’s, either exceed those values or think about finding another company with values more similar to yours.

So You Want to be a Farmer!?!

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. What exactly does being a farmer have to do with being a manager? Not all managers are farmers, but all the good ones are.

Farmers grow plants that produce healthy, bountiful crops. Managers grow people who produce effective, efficient results. Just as a healthy plant is less likely to attract harmful insects, a healthy employee is less likely to attract harmful habits and need intensive attention.

The goal of a good manager is to create an atmosphere that fosters growth and independence — an atmosphere that allows each employee to grow at his own speed, and encourages each employee to set challenging, yet attainable, goals.

Farmers know that the strongest plants are those with good root structure. If you want a plant that can grow strong, sustain that growth, and set abundant fruit, you must encourage the roots to grow before you encourage the plant to flower. If you have two plants that appear the same, the one with the better root structure will outperform the other every time.

Too often, managers throw employees into a task and expect instant results. They don’t cultivate the soil, lay down some fertilizer, and gently loosen the root ball first, as they should. Then they are surprised when those employees make mistakes, burn out, and leave the company just when they become useful. Managers who excel think regularly about their employees’ roots.

But remember — taking care of the roots extends beyond the initial planting or training. A good farmer continually returns to his plants and cultivates the soil around them. Doing this not only disturbs, and hopefully destroys, weeds that steal nutrition from the plant, but it also loosens the soil around the plant, allowing additional growth.

The same holds true for managers. Good managers continue to care for their employees over time. They ensure that harmful weeds are removed before they damage the employee. Weeds may be bad habits, lack of knowledge, or even deficient skills. As managers carefully remove the weeds, they also loosen the soil and create room for employees’ growth. Or, in management terms, they set new goals, suggest alternative choices, or send employees to an informative seminar.

Farmers understand that to get abundant and tasty crops, they need

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