Top image: Marguerite’s garden when she used to live in Jamaica

It’s spring in Toronto (finally) and nature is budding, blossoming and blooming, so I am inspired to continue my “Organizational Nourishing” theme, thinking of ourselves as gardeners, and our organizations as gardens. Carolyn and Garth, whose gardens inspired my previous post do not have magnificent gardens by chance – there’s a lot of work that goes into them. Here are some of the things they do to nurture their gardens, and the equivalent in leading organizations:

  1. They understand and work with their environment. Carolyn, who is from Jamaica, would love to have a tropical garden. But she understands that’s not possible in Toronto, so she gardens according to the climate zone in which she lives.
    • As leaders in organizations, we need to understand our external environment, and plan our strategies (gardens) accordingly.
  2. They carefully select their plants taking the time to learn about each plant and what it requires to thrive – some plants love shady spots, and others like bright sunshine; some like clay, and others, loam, sand or charcoal.
    • Leaders need to do the same – carefully select their team members and place them where they can flourish i.e. where their gifts and talents are best used and where they are happiest.
  3. They adjust. Sometimes a plant may not be doing well in its current spot. Carolyn and Garth have to search for and prepare a more suitable place, carefully uproot the plant and gently move it to its new home. And then give it extra care, attention and nourishment until it establishes itself.
    • Same with people in your organizations – sometimes, a team member is in the wrong position, and you have to transfer them. Do so like the gardener: carefully, gently and then pay special attention until the team member is established in their new role.
  4. They water regularly. Plants need regular watering, some daily, others less often, but still must be watered consistently.
    • Every day, you need to “water” your team members by communicating with them what they are doing right and where they need to make corrections. Communication is to a leader as water is to the gardener.
  5. And they maintain their gardens with regular fertilising and weeding. These are not daily tasks, but are done periodically as scheduled or needed – fertiliser to add nutrients and weeding to remove the little annoyances before they overtake the garden.
    • I liken fertilising and weeding to the leader’s tasks of developing their team through coaching, training and performance management, thus building strengths and correcting weaknesses.
  6. Pruning is a very important task done periodically to keep the garden clear of dead or dying branches and plants. A good gardener doesn’t chop and hack – he or she tenderly clips away the branches that are no longer thriving.
    • Sometimes, the leader has to prune. If someone isn’t flourishing, then the kindest decision may be a separation, done lovingly and as humanely as possible.
  7. Revel in the garden! Carolyn and Garth LOVE their gardens! They celebrate and share its beauty generously (and even offer a cutting or two to aspiring gardeners like me!)
    • Every now and then, the leader needs to just revel in, celebrate and enjoy their organization and team members. CELEBRATE!!


I believe that GRATITUDE is a very powerful nourishing practice. Yes, it’s as simple as saying “Thank you” to your team members, peers and boss whenever they do something that is positive. Doing this often and genuinely will result in improvement in morale and clarity around your expectations. Plus LOTS of smiles!

Learn more about how to get your organization to flourish. We have an exciting program “Nourish to Flourish” that is getting rave reviews … and results!

Click here to email me


If Your Organization Were a Garden, Would It Be Flourishing – click HERE to view article
My Garden – click HERE to view article
Of National Crises … and Weeding – click HERE to view article

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