The nature of things

“The nature of things is in the habit of concealing itself” – Heraclitus of Ephesus

This morning we had our first frost. It was a sure sign that winter is just around the corner and that the cycle of life is unstoppable (no matter what I want, like or whatever). This time of the year I am reminded about the value of harvest and the time to lie fallow after the crops are finished.

jasmineThis cycle of life was also even more intimately presented to me in my office. I have a wonderful jasmine tree. It was a gift and I have enjoyed its fragrant blossoms throughout the year. About two months ago I moved my office. After I settled into the new space, I noticed that the jasmine was loosing its leaves at a fast clip. I was concerned because it had thrived in the old office so well. I concocted a story that the change in the plant was due to something that was harmful to the jasmine in its new environment.

Over four or five weeks, all the leaves fell off the tree. I was certain that the end was near. I was talking with my wife about the tree and that I was about to move this leaf bare plant to our compost pile when she said, “I wonder if it will revive”. In fact, she pointed out one new leaf that was forming at the base of the tree. In my haste to judgment I missed this. I decided to wait and see what happened. I watered the plant as before and to my amazement, the plant has completely rejuvenated and is now full of beautiful, very green leaves.

fourseasonsHow often do I forget about the cycle of life. There is a time like the spring for nurturing new ideas. Seeing what will grow and giving it the gentle and sure care that is needed to survive its first time in the world. In business this is the time of the new product development cycle. During this time, we are trying new things and seeing what has the best chance to meet our needs for a future harvest.

Once we have chosen what we will cultivate, we then give our attention to the growth cycle. We give the crops water and nutrition and sunlight. With the proper amount of these vital ingredients for life amazing things happen. From a seed, an ear of corn or stalk of wheat grow. The same is true in business. We give our newly chosen crop of products the right resources to assure their growth and potential for future harvest. We prune the weeds so that the growth will not be strangled. We cut back excessive plantings if overcrowding ensues.

Now the fun, we get to harvest. The fruits of our labor are in our hands. We can smell them, touch them, taste them. We know that what has transpired is good. The same in our business life. Our customers find what we are offering of value. We store the excess harvest to be used until the next fall. As in business we continue to sell these products and services to our customers.

Then there is winter. In winter, the ground is in repose. It is resting and awaiting a new spring. The farmer is planning their spring activities and making sure they are ready for the next cycle. They also rest. They appreciate their efforts and enjoy the time of winter to make sure they have the stamina that coming seasons demand. In business, we often miss this part of the cycle. We keep our products around long after they are of vitality to our customers. We don’t take time to appreciate the harvest and prepare ourselves physically, emotionally, mental and spiritually for the time ahead.

The cycles are going on all the time in our business world. One product will be in spring, while another in winter. By remembering that this cycle is the nature of things we can keep our eye on what is the best use of our time, talent and resources.

I would love your feedback.

Until later,


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Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

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