6 Ways your Business Is Like an Ecosystem

“Everything is connected… no one thing can change by itself.”

~ Paul Hawken

6 Ways your Business Is Like an Ecosystem

By Andrea Novakowski

Earlier this month, we talked about how weeding your garden can be a metaphor for removing the clutter from your business and your life, allowing what’s truly important to thrive. But there’s even more nature can teach us about how to grow a business. Let’s take a look at some ways our work environment is like the natural environment.

  • In nature, everything goes in cycles. There are times for peak productivity and times for dormancy. When is the best time for you to increase activity in your business? When is it time to take a deep breath and regroup? Consider your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual cycles.
  • Compost happens. If you’re always rushing to the next big thing, you miss the opportunity to let your plans mellow and mature. Sometimes ideas need to sit, process, and grow richer before they’re added to the mix. There’s often value in adding a project, article, or agreement that’s been “composting” to a current endeavor.
  • Sometimes you need to compete, but other times it’s better to cooperate. Right now, in the springtime, birds are extremely territorial: staking out their space, chasing away others of their species, protecting their nests. But in the fall, they rejoin their flocks and migrate together. It’s safer that way. When do you need to stand up for yourself at work? When does it make more sense to be part of the flock?
  • Relationships can be mutually beneficial. It’s called symbiosis, and there are countless examples in nature. When a bumblebee gathers nectar from flowers, it spreads pollen and enables the plants to reproduce. Can you find opportunities for symbiotic relationships at work? For instance, if you need a mentor to grow to the next level, think about how to make the arrangement worthwhile to that person as well. Perhaps you can offer to help with a project or provide tech support.
  • The right fertilizer makes all the difference. Nothing grows without nutrients, and that goes for your business, too. Consider what key nutrients you may be missing at work. Maybe it’s a clear projection of the course you need to take, or a vision of the future you can share with your team. How can you make this year’s performance reviews more nutritious for your staff?
  • We’re all interconnected. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the natural world, but as business owners, we can’t go it alone, either. We all depend on others, whether it’s our accountants or our attorneys or our customers. Are you nurturing your connections? Is there someone missing from your circle? Could networking help increase your interconnectedness?

These 6 observations about business are merely a beginning.  I know there are more ideas to be tapped.  As I head into the Memorial Day holiday weekend here in New England, I’m going to reflect some more and keep noticing what nature has to show me.

Coaching Call To Action

There is so much nature can teach us about life and business.  Spend some time in nature this week and see what captures your eye.  How could you apply what you see to your business?