I had to do a double-take when I stumbled upon a display of orchids – placed right next to the door of an industrial freezer. Orchids are sensitive flowers, thriving in temperatures 60-75 degrees and requiring 12-14 hours/day of light – just the opposite of arctic blasts in the dark corner of a big box store.

The size of the space was perfect for the number of flowers that needed to be showcased, so I’m sure some enterprising clerk made the match without thinking beyond that. But where was the manager or anyone with some common sense?

What’s the equivalent of orchids in your organization – something that someone does that is left unchecked because no one thought of the implications? Maybe your organization has a policy that contradicts another practice but no one thought that through. Perhaps you have an office or representative in one location that overlaps with the work of another representative because no one ever spoke up. Or maybe you’re wasting resources because your employees are using poor judgment without any oversight.

Tell the story of the orchids and reward employees who point them out to you. You need to nurture the courage to speak the truth about stupid stuff if you want to grow a healthy culture.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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