Crisis & Serotiny – Using External Triggers for Growth

I have always been fascinated by the process of serotiny. Specifically, in pine trees like the Jack Pine that have serotinous cones. Serotinous cones are covered with a resin that protects the seeds inside. The seeds are released when the resin is melted which occurs in a forest fire. Yes. A forest fire! It takes something catastrophic like a fire to release the seeds and grow new trees. Without the unwanted, unpleasant and destructive event like a forest fire, new tree growth can’t occur.

Can you relate to the process of serotiny? Do you prefer to stay closed up and safe? Protected from the un-predicable external threats to your business or your life? I get it. It is much easier to have the security of the known and predictable. But there are many consequences of staying safe. Safety can breed complacency. It can stifle new technologies. New markets. New opportunities. It can make you slow to respond when crisis comes and the very safety you pursue can be the cause of your destruction. You need a fire sometimes to grow! Could Covid-19 be the environmental trigger your company needs to grow?

Covid-19 has been a challenge on many fronts. Controlling the spread and saving lives is and should be at the forefront. But Covid-19 can also be the fire that opens some seeds in your pinecone. Seeds of reflection. Seeds of gratitude. Seeds of empathy. Seeds of community. Maybe you have seen the complacency of your leadership. Of being comfortable and delegating leadership or worse yet abdicating your leadership responsibilities. The responsibility to lead your team. Your customer. Your industry. Even yourself.

It’s not too late. Begin today.

What are the things you need to do today to lead during this crisis?
What things do you need to eliminate, restructure, redistribute, re-assign?
What does your team need from you? Communication. A plan. Honesty. Positivity.
And what do you need to create? A new process. A new product. A new market. A new division or department.
Don’t delay. Write down one thing to accomplish today and at the end of the week, you will have accomplished 5 things.
Fires are destructive. But great things can come out of crisis. Great big new forests in fact. Let’s grow some trees together.