Kathleen and I have had a ficus tree on our back deck for years. It’s always sat in a huge pot and grown from something really small into a pretty big tree. Over and over we’ve had to re-pot it into larger and larger buckets. But a few months ago it died – because we didn’t keep up with it’s need for a bigger bucket. I’ve probably replanted that tree 3 or 4 times, because as it grows, it takes more soil, nutrients, and space.
I think there’s a lesson here: If you expect to grow, you need to expand your surroundings. You can’t grow without more nutrients, and the space to spread your roots. This is also a good lesson for leaders.
Growth doesn’t happen in confined spaces. And it’s not just about physical space. If you want your team to grow and be more effective, then let them expand their experience and give them the nutrients they need in the form of classes, better equipment, conferences, and learning opportunities.
Getting to the next level sometimes means getting a bigger bucket.