The Flower Garden

In one of the discussions on Linkedin , a nice metaphor was presented on leadership( author:Ananya Das, IT Advisor for softage information)ref:leadership-mantra.blogspot.in.

There were a lot of comments , and what really was funny , but didn’t surprise me :most of them had different perceptions and interpretations of the story…..also myself!!

Everybody has his own experiences , beliefs ….mental models which gives a explanation to the story .fence2

“There was a young woman who took great pride in the growth and care of the flowers in her flower garden. She had been raised by her grandmother who taught her to love and care for flowers as she herself had done. So, like her grandmother, her flower garden was second to none.

One day while looking through a flower cataloge she often ordered from, a picture of a plant immediately caught her eye.She had never seen blooms on a flower like that before. “I have to have it,” she said to herself, and she immediately ordered it.

When it arrived, she already had a place prepared to plant it. She planted it at the base of a stone wall at the back of her yard. It grew vigorously, with beautiful green leaves all over it, but there were no blooms. Day after day she continued to cultivate it, water it, feed it, and she even talked to it attempting to coax it to bloom. But, it was to no avail.

 One morning weeks later, as she stood before the vine, she contemplated how disappointed she was that her plant had not bloomed. She was giving considerable thought to cutting it down and planting something else in its place.

It was at this point that her invalid neighbor, whose lot joined hers, called over to her. “Thank you so much! You can’t imagine how much I have enjoyed the blooms of that vine you planted.”

The young woman walked through the gate into her neighbor’s yard, and sure enough, she saw that on the other side of the wall the vine was filled with blooms.

There were indeed the most beautiful blooms she had ever seen. The vine had crept through the crevices and it had not flowered on her side of the fence, it had flowered luxuriantly on the other side.

 Just because sometimes you cannot see the good result of your labor, it does not mean that it bore no fruit.

So dear friends, always look on the other side before you feel despondent about your lost labor.

This was the conclusion of the author on the metaphor, which is certainly valid .
Myself has been a business leader for the last 25 years , retired now , but still active to coach starters and give workshops around systems thinking.

With my mental model , I perceived the story more as a metaphor for systems thinking.

“Don’t focus on parts of an organization, but see the whole .
Some explanation :
I see the garden of the lady as a departement of a company , with excellent and bright workers( the flowers).The other department ( invalid neighbour ) doesn’t have it , because he has not the resources, skills or…and is not happy.the other department(lady) will still better perform by hiring still a more brighter employee.

This one doesn’t fit well in the team ( of all bright ones)and is helping the other department( flourishing on the other side), which is happy.
So both parties are happy , and the total company( all departments )perform better(lady and neighbour are happy .
So in a company , leaders should’nt focus on one part , but seeing the whole , share resources and skills .

Have one purpose :all the gardens in the neighbourhoods should be nice !!

What’s your interpretation ??

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