Here’s a fun fact. Bananas are curved because of an interesting word called geotropism. Geotropism is the growth of plants in response to the force of gravity. For instance, roots are an example of positive geotropism. They go deep into the soil because it is where they find nourishment. The upward growth of plant shoots is an example of negative geotropism. The plant is growing against the force of gravity. This brings us to bananas.
Like most fruit, bananas hang from a tree. Bananas are curved, rather than straight, and actually curve toward the sun. The impact of the sun causes them to fight against gravity. They begin “reaching” for what is feeding their growth despite the pull of gravity.
Just like bananas, organizations and businesses curve toward what nourishes or impacts them most. What are you feeding your organization? The answer to much of this boils down to leadership.
People will grow toward that which feeds them. Employees can be fed by direct incentives or by more. Think about your childhood. Perhaps you performed a chore only because you were receiving ice cream afterwards. An employee may stay late only because their employer is watching. Employees may complete just what’s necessary because they are given a salary. These are responses to direct incentives. Is it possible to lead a group of people to go beyond the minimal amount of work? Yes!
Give clear expectations that feed the organization’s vision and purpose, not merely an individual’s short-term desires.
Ask important questions. What feeds your appetite for success? What is feeding your team? Incentives, bonuses, a “me-first” culture, customer service, kindness, gossip and backstabbing, or assuming the best in others? Think of small ways you can feed your team to improve organizational health. A monthly lunch can build community. An afternoon of serving a local food bank builds teamwork. Asking others to dream provides inspiration and hope.
Look at your leadership and examine the food that your team is eating.