Over most of my vacations, the weather behaves. I can remember only a handful of times when some portion of what I had hoped to do was derailed by the weather getting in the way. But it does happen. So I bring along a good book, or I do more writing than I may have planned. Or maybe we just stay in and watch a movie. Bad weather, and in particular rain, is part of the cycle of things, part of what we manage through because of all the benefits most of it can bring. And because we have no choice.
We don’t control the weather. We do our best to manage and minimize the impact of weather. We put domes over stadiums, we plan cities with adequate draining pathways for the heaviest of rains, and we build levees and damns to help control that which we can never fully control. Then we buy insurance and wait to see what happens.
In the Talent Garden, rain can be any number of things. It can be a sudden surge of more work than the team can handle, the loss of a particularly talented co-worker, a major customer issue, or just overall tough business conditions. All of these, like rain, are part of the full cycle of learning and growing talent. Lots of employees can thrive in an ideal environment, where every day is the perfect amount of sunshine and warmth, and an automatic system delivers the exact moisture and nutrution the group needs. But most of our organizations need people who can handle the rain, and ideally grow from it.
An employee who learns her work in an environment that is besieged with tough problems, where each day presents new challenges from what might be considered “normal” operation, is an employee who has the opportunity to grow stronger than her counterparts elsewhere.
As it is in the garden, where each plant has a specific watering need and can grow well with some variation to that need, there are employees who can handle the tough conditions, and those who can’t. When the sun comes out again, we need to make sure we acknowledge those that made it through the rains, and if there are some suffering from the storms, it may be time for a transplant to more suitable conditions. Which may not exist in your organization.
When you know you have such an employee, do you encourage them to find a better place to work, or do you wait until the heavy rains eventually drown them?