Do You Grow Your People Like a Farmer or a Reality Show?

Farmers don’t just plant seeds, cross their fingers, and come back in 4 months to check on the progress.

Whether the farmer grows corn, soybeans, or wheat, they prepare the soil, choose seeds with traits conducive to their exact location and season, carefully apply fertilizer, herbicides, and fungicides (natural or man-made), tweak this and that, and systematize the process.

Yet when many of us grow people, we do much less.

First, we may outsource the hiring to HR. Then we run the new hire through a process more akin to “Survivor” and “American Ninja” than a process which recognizes unique abilities, experiences and skill. Finally, we check back in several months later to see “how things are going.”

If farmers grew crops like we grow people, we’d all starve. Just like plants, people need fertilizer, careful placement, and maybe even their first few months under the shelter of a greenhouse where they learn culture, share values, and the necessary skills to wildly succeed.

Treating people like reality show contestants on a far-off island doesn’t make them strong. It only leads to a bunch of bedraggled, wore out, and mentally and physically drained short-term employees who will quit and cry at the first site of a passing ship.

Farmer or reality show?

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