During a recent conversation with a friend who owns a successful landscaping business, he began telling me about the ins and outs of transplanting trees. I had assumed that the decision to plant a big tree versus a small tree was only a function of cost. And although cost does have a significant bearing on the decision, the plain truth is that you can’t just buy your way into a fully-grown tree.
It turns out that larger trees don’t grow as quickly as smaller trees and the failure rate is much higher. The larger trees stay somewhat dormant for the first 3-5 years after transplanting because of the shock to their system, while the smaller trees adjust better, grow more rapidly, and soon catch up. Although you get the benefit of a relatively bigger tree for the first couple of years, it comes with risks and you can’t shortcut your way into a mature orchard.
My experience is much the same with people. Although you can make strides with this strategy or that, for people to contribute their best, their roots have to be connected and their overall system in tune.
I grew up on a farm and learned early on the time and effort it takes to plow, plant, irrigate, and cultivate a harvest. You just can’t shortcut the process, even with modern equipment and technologies.
Seeds have to be planted, water and nutrients supplied, and weeds removed. The developmental equivalent of soil, sunshine, and water for people is purpose, direction, and trust. The power of purpose, the clarity of direction, and the security that comes from high trust relationships help people tap into their best selves more quickly and often. And those things take time to build and connect to.
As the old saying goes…the best time to plant a tree is 50 years ago…or today.