Roots and Shoots

My wife often talks about the metaphors of roots and wings when we talk about how to parent our kids. Roots in the sense that we want our offspring to always think they can come back home anytime. Roots are certainly the theme at my house where two of our millennial young adults have boomeranged back home. At the same time, we hope our children sprout wings with our blessings to leave the nest when they are ready.

Deloitte Strategy and Operations have taken similar symbolism in the form of roots and shoots as it helps employees unlock human potential to solve complex problems in a rapidly changing world and marketplace.

With roots Deloitte suggests we slow down and re-anchor ourselves to what is really important in our life and work. They claim that once we establish our roots, we position ourselves for shoots that get us on a trajectory to learn new behavior and concepts as we respond to a volatile, uncertain, changing and ambiguous workplace and world.

For roots Deloitte recommends we:

Circling back to what gives meaning to our life and work keeps us grounded to our roots. Having a safe haven and community that provides safety, stability and opportunities for dialogue and reflection is critical for continued growth. This is why it is important to build workplaces that recognize and embrace differences where folks feel they have status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness and fairness to make those connections.

Replenishment and rejuvenation is the name of the game particularly in a workplace of constant pressure and busyness. It allows us to counteract the incremental work load of many of our workplaces that operate under the assumption “do more with less.”

Reflect and Reframe
What got us here will not get us there. We avoid the danger of the competency trap by staying with those things we naturally gravitate toward. Our strengths may turn into weaknesses in the form of yesterday’s wine. We need a mindset that allows us to adopt new perspectives to refocus on those things that no longer work as we summon the energy to unlearn old habits and learn new ones.

For shoots, Deloitte urges we:

In the 1994 movie Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne as he ponders his eventual escape from prison says to Red, “Get busy living or get busy dying. Taking action is the starting point for shoots. Move in the direction of those goals and objectives that get you on the path to a richer tomorrow.

Amplify and Accelerate
This does not mean to do more or stay busy. It suggests that we deliberately get into a flow regarding the direction we want to go. As Shawn Achor writes about in this book, “The Happiness Advantage,” we should choose the most valuable reality, map a path toward that reality, use success accelerants to propel us to that reality, cancel out the noise toward that reality and once we find our reality, help others get on the path toward their reality.

Adjust and Align
Much like interval training where you do a strenuous short term exercise in order to build endurance for a longer activity, shoots require the establishment of short-term growth goals to build capacity for the marathon ahead. As a gardener prunes a bush, he/she shapes the bush for future expansion on the horizon. Developing shoots occur in the same way as learning becomes quick, repetitive and hopefully permanent.

Roots cause us to slow down and remember where we have been. Shoots help us accelerate where we need to go. Find your shoots and roots. If you do, you should find your purpose, passion and potential right around the corner.

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