ANTI ANTS: Deirdre Elphick-Moore THE ants versus the celery root can be used to highlight the top five skills to develop in 2013.
One of my challenges last year was the successful cultivation of a vegetable garden. I failed largely because of the tiniest of creatures: the ant.
The first crop I lost was my celery. The plants were flourishing but then, in the absence of any obvious reason, the leaves started to wilt and the plants eventually died.
When I pulled what was left of them from the ground, I realised that their roots were infested with ants. Under ground, out of sight, these small creatures had destroyed a beautiful crop.
If you look at a picture of a celery plant, focus on the roots, on how big they are in relation to the plant, on how strong they look. How could a root structure like this fall victim to tiny ants?
Meteorologist Edward Lorenz coined the phrase "butterfly effect”, which may help to explain this.
In popular culture it describes the concept that small events or actions can have large, widespread consequences.
I imagine this is what happened to my celery plants; a single bite of a root by a lone ant led to an infestation, to a large number of tiny bites that killed the plants.
The "ants” I face in my profession are those attitudes and daily actions that undermine the successful growth of the businesses I work with. Here are the skills I believe can stop the "ants” in their tracks:
A sense of accountability: an acknowledgment from individuals that they have an impact on their personal success or failure and that of the businesses that they work in, no matter their position or level.
Out-of-the-box thinking: businesses need to continually evolve, to improve and respond to changing circumstances.
It’s a question of "if you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got?”
Individuals need to be open to change and to look for more efficient ways to do business.
Positivity: an approach to work that only accepts constructive feedback, that demands problem solving and always focuses forward.
Financial savvy: we will continue to feel the effects of the global recession for some time. Employees need to actively look for ways to manage resources in a cost-effective way.
Cultural awareness: the ability to understand the perspectives of others and the value that diversity brings to the workplace.
Let the butterfly effect in your business be a positive one. Let the celery grow, not the ants!