Our region is in the midst of a heat wave. Given our location in the California desert, this is not unexpected. But it’s still H-O-T! During these temperature surges I provide extra care to our outdoor greenery. As I was watering some distressed plants, I noticed that two plants – located only a few feet apart – were responding to the heat wave in vastly different ways. The plant pictured on the left (a Caesalpinia) was thriving and just beginning to bloom (and it was transplanted only 8 weeks ago!). However, the succulents (right photo) were not thriving at all! In fact, our succulents always die in summer heat and are replaced with new ones each fall.
A recurring challenge I encounter as I work with organizations are plants (people) that are in the wrong climate (job description, culture, boss, teams). In fact, I am often asked to work with employees to help them bloom. And sometimes they can’t. These are challenging situations because they often need to undergo the painful process of a transplant (moving into a new job or organization). However, the deeper problem with this situation is that the employee is typically labelled as a bad plant. In reality, it is often the organization (and the person who hired them) that made the wrong choice. It is a mistake to place a succulent in 119 F heat and then blame the plant for withering.
Sometimes our businesses have distressed plants because we have not cared for them properly (coaching, adequate training, etc.). But often, we have staff members who are planted where they do not belong. Ensure you plant your Caesalpinia’s in the heat and your succulents in the shade!
Jeff Suderman is a consultant and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy, and their Future-Readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California.