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 »  Home  »  Business & Finance  »  A Tale of Two Plants
A Tale of Two Plants
By Gordon Newman | Published  06/21/2009 | Business & Finance | Rating:
Gordon Newman
Gordon J. H. Newman, CPT - Gordon is President of The Newman Learning Group Inc. an organization dedicated to providing value add learning and development solutions to improve the bottom line performance of organizations and individuals.  Gordon may be reached at or 905-790-2944 or

Gordon's recently published book There Has To Be A Better Way can be purchased on-line. 

View all articles by Gordon Newman
Brampton - Some time back I planted two wegilia plants in the side garden of my home.  One plant is pink and the other plant is red.  Both were exactly the same size plant, purchased from the same nursery on the same day.  Both were planted, watered and fertilized exactly the same.  Read on and you will understand why these facts are relevant.

The first spring the red plant grew larger than the pink plant and bloomed almost 30 days earlier.  The second year the experience was exactly the same.  At that point my thought was to remove the pink plant and replace it with another pink plant.  Clearly this was not a strong healthy plant.  However, one thing and another kept me from replacing that pink plant.  To my surprise, in the third year and every year since, the pink plant has been stronger, larger and blooms earlier and more steadily than does the red plant.

Sitting on the back patio one day recently I began to relate the behaviour of these two plants to a business situation.  What if these were not two garden plants but instead two employees.  Both hired at the same time with the same credentials and experience.  Both employees were given the same training and development.

However, one employee (the red one) flourishes and becomes one of the most efficient and productive employees in the company.  The second, (the pink one) while still performing well, always seems to be a bit behind in both efficiency and productivity.

In many instances, employee number two (the pink one) would be dismissed because of poor performance and a replacement engaged.  The hope being, of course, that the new pink employee would perform at the level of the existing 'red' employee.  Would that be the wisest decision for the company?

Clearly an investment in both the hiring and development of the 'pink' employee would be money spent with nominal return.  Clearly engagement of a new employee would incur a certain cost for recruiting.  Additionally a cost would be incurred to sever relationships with the existing employee.  In many instances productivity would decline until the new employee developed fully.

What is a company to do?  Perhaps it is a matter of understanding that like plants, people adapt and grow at different paces.  Often times, continued support and nurturing of an employee will in the end yield a much stronger and more reliable individual.  Just like my red wegilia, one employee may bloom quickly but be unable to sustain that level over an extended period.

Do you have a "pink wegilia" working for you?  If so, what are you doing to provide the development and nurturing necessary to turn that individual into one of your strongest assets?

Copyright Gordon J. H. Newman, CPT

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