Don’t water the dirt – it only wastes water!

Like many parts of country, Florida has its share of challenges when it comes to lawn maintenance.  Scorching sun and bad soil in many parts of the state wreak havoc with the dream of a nice, green lawn.  My wife and I just recently had to re-sod our front lawn due to the amount of trucks driving on it during our recent renovation, so I have been paying particular attention to those homeowners who seem to be beating the odds.

I noticed something today that made me stop in my tracks.  A neighbor was very diligently watering the dirt in his front yard.  While there were some patches of grass that could be saved, much of it was a total loss.  And now, it is a wet, muddy total loss.  I am not a lawn expert by any means, but if there is one thing I know, it’s that grass won’t grow without seeds.  Watering the dirt just wastes water and makes a mess.

I then started equating this to people, and how we try to develop and train our team members.  If my neighbor was missing something regarding how to get his lawn to grow, what are we missing when it comes to getting our team members to grow?

I’ve seen many instances where people want to throw training at a performance issue because that’s the only method they know of.  If a particular skill is under developed, training can help.  However, if the team member in question is lacking desire, confidence in the system or process, or belief in him/herself, no amount of training will change the outcome.  Sad, but true.

From what I have seen, the one ingredient that seems to be missing, and is of the greatest importance, is the direct relationship between a team member and their supervisor.  A friend told me about a recent situation where she happened to run into her boss someplace, and they ended up having a great conversation.  To her, it was inspirational to talk with her boss in such a casual, non-work setting.  They did talk about work, but it wasn’t the typical day-to-day what’s going on kind of conversation.  She said it was more like two people chatting, rather than a boss talking to a subordinate. She said it made her feel better about her job and her ability to move up through the company.

So she had the training (water) and the foundation of experience (dirt), and now she had the seed of inspiration and confidence building that she needed to REALLY grow as an individual and a professional.

So turn off the sprinklers if you don’t have any seeds, unless all you want is a muddy front yard.


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