Fix the environment, not the person

Tomato seedings
This year I want to grow my own tomatoes.
I potted up three varieties and put the pots on the windowsill inside a plastic bag to act as a propagator and I waited. I dutifully checked on them everyday, hoping to see small green shoots poking their head above the soil.
Seven days passed and there was nothing.
Fourteen days passed, and still nothing.
After 21 days, I finally accepted the supermarket bought seeds were duds and tossed the contents of the pots into the garden.
Feeling a bit dejected I popped on the latest episode of Gardeners World and blow me down, Monty Don (he’s like the Mary Berry of the gardening world), was encouraging the nation to plant tomato seeds with him, so we could look after them together. “Put them in a north facing windowsill above a heater and they’ll germinate in 7-10 days,” he said.
And then I realised what had gone wrong for me. It wasn’t the seeds, I had put my pots on a south facing windowsill in a plastic bag. I had steamed them!
So I tried again with the remaining seeds, this time putting them on a cooler, but bright, north facing windowsill. Low and behold, 7 days later, little shoots started to appear.
It wasn’t the seeds after all, it was the environment.
Often people are sent to HR to be fixed:
  • The woman who is too emotional
  • The man who doesn’t have that leader swagger
  • The person who is too quiet in meetings
When, if we looked a little closer, we might find it is the environment we have created that is stifling their brilliance and they don’t need to be fixed, or thrown out at all.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash