Strategy is a word thrown around quite a bit in the world right now. I’m sure you’ve heard it in one context or another: business strategy, money strategy, political strategy, marketing strategy… Strategy constantly on the mind!
We use strategy in our personal lives, too: parenting strategy, savings strategy, development strategy. Probably in a less methodical way— not so much boardrooms, slideshows, and whiteboards, more like journaling, time budgeting, and calendaring. As creatures of habit, humans generally like to have a plan or direction to work towards our desired goals.
Sometimes, when you sit to work out a strategy for an area of your life, you struggle with tunnel vision. Razor-sharp focus with a clear understanding of where you’re going in one area, fog and confusion in the other. And implementing strategy is a challenge as well, especially when you can’t see the blind-spots! We forget to factor in changing environments and conditions, such as seasonal changes and cyclical patterns. We don’t consider that what works in one period, might not work in others!
In essence, our strategy for any goal or project, and therefore the leadership style we use to guide that strategy, needs to change and adapt based on the conditions of the environment. It’s like how plants you see in a desert aren’t the same as the ones you’d see in the mountains. Or how plants behave differently from season to season.
Because of course, plants are fabulous at adjusting their survival strategy to the conditions around them. Hence, why we can learn so much from them!
From an environmental perspective, winter is considered a time for rest, renewal, and preparation for the upcoming growth period. Spiritually, it could be considered a time for rest, inner focus, stillness, and reflection.
For the conscious leader, driven by the desire to lead your life in a way that feels abundant and successful while honoring your eco-conscious values, it’s a perfect opportunity to review the strategies you’ve been using and update them based on the results obtained.
It’s pretty easy to see the seasonality of some plants. But when your seasonality is less visible, as it is in tropical plants and humans, we tend to forget that all living beings follow the rhythms of nature.
Let’s take the example of a Birch tree and a Fir tree and compare it to two humans, Joan and Charlie.
Joan lives in a place that experiences all four seasons, with less sunlight during the winter. Charlie lives in a climate that is pretty constant all year, with heat extremes during the summer. Both Joan and Charlie work for the same company in their respective locations.
Summer/Winter Cycles in a Forest
During the winter, the Birch tree loses ki’s leaves and stops producing sugar. Having needles in full sunlight, the Fir produces extra sugar ki passes on to the Birch, if needed. During the summer, the Birch leaves provide shade for the Fir, so the process is reversed. The Birch passes extra sugars which ki trades for other substances the Fir continues to generate.
So, the Birch and Fir trees behave in a way that ensures a mutually beneficial relationship adjusted for the environmental conditions.
Summer/Winter Cycles in Humans
For Joan, it feels natural to slow down during the winter when there is less light.
While for Charlie, this is a time of year with a perfect temperature for maximum efficiency: not too hot, not too cold. Instead, Charlie actually slows down in the summer. When the excess heat becomes so much that it is better to loft in the shade.
Forest Logic in Human Enterprise
Using the logic of the forest, it would be beneficial for the company they both work for to have Joan’s team carry the load during the summer, producing the majority of the work and using the winter for more internal processes and strategy.
Charlie’s team should inverse the process—spending the summer in more introspective mode and using the winter to produce while the people are more alert thanks to the good weather.
The Limitations of Human Logic
Unfortunately, in a desire to bring a certain level of comfort to every location, we’ve built our cities and work dynamics based on artificial seasons such as religious holidays and LED lighting. This makes taking advantage of these natural cycles harder.
As we in the Northern Hemisphere, (far too rapidly by the way, where has this year gone?!) head towards the winter season, have you considered the natural cycles of your environment and how they might change your leadership strategy?
When it comes to ensuring the continuation of Life, picking the right strategy is so important for plants. Getting it wrong could, after all, mean the end of a species! There’s no one size fits all strategy because kin have to consider tons of factors, many of which change frequently.
Nature-Inspired guidance helps you make conscious decisions so you effectively design and guide strategies that best use the offerings your physical and spiritual ecosystems have available in a given period… for whatever you might be strategizing on.
It may be mirroring resilience strategies offered by the plant kingdom to easily handle temporary disturbances or unexpected consequences.
It might mean adjusting your communication based on the environment or client you’re working with. Just like plants change how they communicate based on who they want to reach.
You could even look to the strategies plants choose for reproduction for ideas.
You might be thinking, “OK Tigrilla, now you’ve gone too far… what does reproduction have to do with strategy?”
Let me explain… I promise, it is worth it!
Plant Inspired Communications Strategy
There are two main strategies used by plants to reproduce:
“r” which stands for rate, producing many seeds with low energy and distributing them widely with the hopes that enough will survive. Think white puffs of dandelion parachutes.
“K” which stands for the German work Kapazität (capacity), investing energy in fewer offspring, each of which has a relatively high probability of surviving to adulthood. Think Oak trees who grow slowly and take about 20 years to produce their first acorns.
If you want to reach the masses with a message, you can use an “r” strategy and print thousands of flyers that blanket the city. This only works if the message is easy to understand and needs no extra help in order to be understood. Think of the dandelion parachute that flies on the wind and can grow just about anywhere.
If instead you have a message that is more complex and requires explanation, better to use a campaign where you can get in front of your audience for a longer time, like a salesperson or video presentations. It is more resource-intensive for you, but more effective overall.
Understanding strategies like these could be a tool you use so that your communication strategies achieve the results you desire because they are based on natural insight. And as you know, we are nature, so we naturally respond!
Choose a Natural Strategy
Conscious strategy setting means considering your needs within a larger landscape. Like the plant kingdom, which you know has an amazing ability to understand the world from a much larger viewpoint than us humans.
Such as changing your company dynamics, even temporarily. You could take advantage of your natural seasonalities like Joan and Charlie’s company could!
If you collaborated with nature to make consciously aligned decisions and create the perfect strategy. Whether it be designing a business campaign or getting your family together for a holiday, can you imagine how much more efficient and abundant you could be?
How do you think you could mirror your strategies based on the models provided by nature?
I love the way you explain things it really does give food for thought ( planting the seed ), it has made me realise now this is something I’ve been doing mostly in my work place, as a lot of my colleagues don’t do change very well.
Thank you your tips always help
I’m so happy to hear this, Martina! Do you have some ideas for how you could help your colleagues better adapt?