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Cultivating Creativity by Putting People First

Build People to Build the Organization


I really hope you've enjoyed this series about straw bale gardening and the metaphor that I've used, so that it helps you understand how to grow your people too. This is the last post in the series, and so today, I want to talk about results. About getting results, by putting people first, getting results by expanding your capacity and growing people and nurturing people so that they're fully engaged and so that they'll apply additional discretionary effort. And so that is they're growing, you're growing, too.

It all boils down to having a people-building mentality. An approach to business that isn't just about that bottom line in the short term, it's about that bottom line and that the abilities of the business long term and that only comes through people. You can't cut your expenses to the point where you no longer are investing in your people, not if you want to be successful long term. And you can't drive people to the bone and expect them to give you their all.

They can't. They won't, but they will give you more and your organization will grow faster and your results will be better when you build people. When you put people first, your organization will reach its peak capacity. Ultimately, it's all about the results. Why do all the work, no matter how much fun it might be, unless you're going to get something out of it?

That's how I feel about things. I like to be productive. What I'm showing you here and on the next slide, these are some before and after photos from 2019. Whatever comes out of the garden, ends up, ultimately, on the plate. Might not be my plate, because I give away a lot of stuff. I trade for many, many things, but it's going on somebody's plate and I enjoy recipes and exchanging ideas and creating in the kitchen, too.

That's all part of the fun. What you produce gives you opportunities that are different from other people.

The more you produce, the more opportunities you have. The better you produce, the better the opportunities you have when it comes to results. This is true whether you're building people, whether you're growing sales, no matter what you're doing in life, hard work does pay off.

In my garden, I'm growing 57 different things this year. I'm going to have lots of opportunities to experiment and try new things every day, whatever comes in the produce box that day will become something for dinner that night or for a canned or frozen or sealed item that we use in the future. 

I do a lot. I dehydrate foods, I freeze foods, whatever it takes to be able to use it at some point in the future. And I get to try new things, things I'd never, ever thought about trying before. What you're looking at right here in the upper right of the plate, that is my new signature dish. It's made with Swiss chard and with the leaves of beets. It's got a little bit of fresh garlic in there. And sometimes I put fresh Parmesan in with it. There's a little white wine and some lemon juice. Let me tell you, it's out of this world. And if you've never tried Swiss chard, it's worth a try. Hit me up if you want the recipe.

Potatoes are fascinating to me. I've never grown them in dirt because I've always heard what a hassle it is. You have to be able to dig down into the dirt with a shovel and do it very carefully so you don't nick the potatoes as you're shoveling them out. But I decided to give it a try in bales of straw because the harvesting process is entirely different. This photo on the left hand side, that's not dirt, that is a potato in a straw bale. The straw bale has decomposed so much since the beginning of the season that it actually looks like and feels like very, very, very loose dirt at the top. And so when I harvest the straw bales that are that decomposed with potatoes in them, potatoes I planted in late March and didn't harvest until early November, when it gets to this point, I can literally kick (gently) the side of the straw bale with my foot and the potatoes just fall out and out of only three bales of straw,

I got enough potatoes to last us for months and we were eating potatoes often. Way too often. And even before that I had harvested new potatoes earlier in the season because I just I wanted to see how they were. And you can try all sorts of things if you're growing herbs, especially I dry my herbs. I've used dill in a hundred different ways. I never even knew how much I liked dill until I gave it a try.

The results matter and your willingness to try new things gives you an opportunity to drive new and different results. Things that you never knew you liked, maybe yellow squash or maybe it's purple carrots. Maybe it's beets. You think you don't like them, until you find out they're all new ways to prepare them. Sweet potatoes, wax beans, by the way, don't bother boiling beans. Saute fresh beans, they're so much better. Whatever it is that you want to give a try to, you'll find that the results are worth the hard work that you put in.

I grew a lot of spaghetti squash last year, in just a small pot in dirt as an afterthought. And those things were incredible in terms of their yield. Well, I'd also been growing a lot of tomatoes, so I made many, many batches of spaghetti sauce. Spaghetti squash and spaghetti sauce, it's a match made in heaven when you make your spaghetti sauce from scratch without preservatives and sugar and all the other junk in it. And you put it with your spaghetti, squash instead of pasta, that's a pretty healthy, delicious meal.

I would never have known that if I hadn't been willing to give it a try.

Whatever the results are that you're looking for, don't limit yourself. Think outside the box, stretch your imagination. Maybe the results you can get will be a little different, or maybe you're going to fall short of the results you were looking for. So you're trying to supplement you want to augment those results, remain open minded and you'll be able to do that, be willing to experiment and you'll always get bigger, better results.