30 Day Brainstorm Challenge: Day 26 – My Dying Plant

It’s Day 26 of our 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge – My Dying Plant

Today is the day. I couldn’t pass up it’s sad leaves any longer. You see, I have a pretty good green thumb, for plants that grow outside. Then, even those plants are categorized into two levels: plants I can eat and perennials (plants that come back year after year). I have a saying, “Friends don’t let friends plant annuals”. This probably gives you some insight into the types of plants I have indoors. Actually, I have sum total of three plants that live inside, 2 cactus’s and one very hardy vine. It’s the latter that was crying out for attention.

Living, not thriving.

This plant has lived in a corner of the house for probably 6 years. (Like I said, hardy!) It just lives there. I can’t say it thrives there. It goes for great stretches without water and it has never been replanted. It’s leaves are not as green, and the vines are becoming woody – a sign that I’m pushing my luck. I think it’s ironic to note, that the planter box it lives in is grand. It could be an art piece on its own, and it’s holding up my sad little plant. So today, after getting some mission critical work out of the way, I gave it some love.

First, I took the plant out of the container. The soil was so dried out, it wasn’t even clinging to the sides of the pot any longer, the plant just lifted right out. I shook the lose dirt off exposing some roots, cut away the dead stuff, pulled off dead leaves and gave the roots a nice long soak to re-hydrate. Then replanted the whole thing in new, nutritious soil. Already it has started to perk up. I can just tell it’s happier, it could be me…but it looks, perkier. It now has the things it needs to sustain life. I wish I had taken before and after shots.

It’s funny how my mind works. Here I was la-de-da-ing around with my plant, feeling happy for it. Who feels happy for a plant? Anyway, that’s when it hit me. It’s because this plant was the perfect analogy for people in the workplace. Think about it my friends. We are happiest at work when we have sustenance that take us beyond the basics. We could be like this plant, sitting in a corner – living on the bare essentials. Living but not thriving. Who wants that existence? As L&D people we are in a unique position to provide people with the resources to thrive and grow. We can provide opportunities that encourages thought and active learning. We can curate and pass along information that makes their corner of the world brighter, and easier to manage. We can create/design/develop courses that feed the mind.

But don’t shock the system…

What is important, is understanding that we don’t need permission to provide this extra sustenance.  It just takes us to be aware that a need is there. Not to continue to walk past the same sad plant and saying tomorrow I’ll get to you. By then, your plant has checked out. In this case, your people will lose interest in growing. They are happy with the status quo.

There is a danger. In plant speak, we don’t want to put it into shock. This is when you over-do the love. It shocks the plants system and it dies anyway. Therefore, within a neglected workplace, it may take baby steps of love to get people thriving again. Don’t ask for permission to take those baby steps.

Where to start?

Perhaps with helpful (and very short) newsletters, or the occasional lunch and learn. Create a job aid for the new whiteboard, or the hold an after hours class for those who want more information on how to do their taxes. Taking baby steps that are not a shock to the system will encourage growth (and even some happiness) within your organization. I’m not saying L&D is responsible for the organizational learning culture, but we are part of the workplace ecosystem. Perhaps we need to peak around more corners, giving light and sustenance to those living there.  #JustSaying

Funny how the mind works. Plants and people. I guess we have more in common than I thought.

Share, what baby steps are you taking to grow your culture of learning? 


NO! It’s not too late to join! See the original 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge post here

See previous post: Day 25: Is it Hoarding

Check out the variety of participants and their challenge entries on the Learning Rebels Facebook page here

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Shannon Tipton

Shannon Tipton

As Owner of Learning Rebels, Shannon Tipton is a skilled learning strategist, content developer and International speaker. Shannon has over 20 years of leadership experience developing successful learning strategies and infrastructures for training departments within organizations in North America, Europe and Korea.

Shannon works with people and organizations to develop learning solutions that brings actual business results. Recognized as bringing real-world expertise into the learning field, Shannon integrates technologies and social learning tools to strengthen workplace alignment, enhance collaboration and increase learning connectivity.

As author of “Disruptive Learning” Shannon frequently speaking at conferences across North America and Europe and ranks as one of the top 100 L&D influencers on Twitter (@stipton).

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