(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


The differences between organic gardening and chemical gardening serve as a wonderful metaphor for anyone who manages, leads or coaches people. Years ago I started gardening as a high-touch balance to my high-tech days. Intrigued by organic gardening, I studied and practiced it until the principles became clear.

When you grow things chemically you add the “right” chemicals at the “right” time so the plant will do what it is supposed to do. You can do a pretty good job at this if you’re careful and attentive to the needs of the plant. However, when fed this way plants tend to develop shallow roots, need frequent watering and are impacted more by wind, drought, disease and insects. You become the plant’s lifeline.

With organic gardening, instead of feeding the plant you feed the soil. The natural interaction of the soil and the plant provides just the right nutrients, in just the right combinations, at just the right time for the plant to maximize it’s potential. Fed this way — which nature has worked out over a few million years — plants develop deep roots, are strong and disease-resistant, and need much less attention.

The main problem with the organic approach is that it takes a while to develop rich, healthy soil and, in our impatience to get results NOW, we resort to the chemicals.

If you will have patience and grow the people in your life by helping them develop deep roots in a rich, healthy environment, you will find they blossom beyond your expectations. And the journey will be easier and more rewarding for you, too.


Copyright 1999 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.