Northeast Indiana Awarded $50 million by the State of Indiana for Growing with Vision plan: Funding Will Catalyze Northeast Indiana’s Economic Growth

Leadership Expert Connects with Business Leaders in Wabash

By: Jaclyn Goldsborough on October 28th, 2019

How Gardening Teaches Leadership Skills to Business Leaders

What do leadership and gardening have in common? A lot more than you may initially think according to Jones Loflin, author of a new leadership book called “Always Growing: How to Be a Strong(er) Leader In Any Season.”

An internally recognized speaker, Loflin travels the world sharing his wisdom about work-life satisfaction, time management, change and leadership and he made a stop in downtown Wabash to speak with Northeast Indiana business leaders.

Loflin, the co-author of "Juggling Elephants" and "Getting To It", penned his most recent book about business leadership and presented his gardening-inspired leadership growth model to a room of about 100 regional business and community leaders at the Honeywell Center in Wabash in mid-October.

“Always Growing” tackles a common leadership challenge: How to successfully motivate, develop and empower a diverse group of people to work together and achieve remarkable results.

Loflin, a former horticulture teacher who resides in North Carolina, was inspired to develop his model based on his passion and knowledge for gardening and workplace growth.

The model breaks up these key leadership lessons into four categories: grow, cultivate, prune and harvest.

The book focuses on the main character David, who recently got a job at Trendex and is facing a lot of leadership challenges in his new role. He connects with his sister, Kelly, who helps him understand the principals of gardening, which he soon puts into practice at work.

Through specific scenarios and key moments, David learns the lessons every leader must take to grow their organization, such as:

  • Letting something grow on its own is not a wise choice

  • Determining what a plant needs is critical to optimum growth

  • Pruning is something necessary to minimalize undesirable outcomes

  • Harvesting is much more than reaching the intended goal

Vanessa Hurtig, vice president of administration at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said her personal favorite takeaway from his presentation was his opening and closing question, “Where is your leadership making a small difference?”

“This question prompted me to take a step back and really look at the small habits and interactions I have on a daily basis. The point that he made is that these small differences compound over time to make a large impact,” Hurtig said. “The question made me consider specific examples of where I am making a small difference or could be making a small difference and recognize that as lessons in leadership rather than get bogged down and overwhelmed at the giant concept of ‘being a leader.’ It’s not about arriving, it’s about being intentional every day and results will follow.”

By the end of the session, Wabash leaders learned a fresh perspective on leadership and also key ways to protect their time.

For business leaders sifting through thousands of emails, Loflin recommended using a simple acronym to help prioritize emails—TRAF—which means trash, refer, act or file. For each email, use TRAF as a guidepost to efficiently and effectively navigate many emails. 

For any other leadership tips and tricks, visit Loflin’s website to learn more about his leadership and training offerings. The event was hosted by the Honeywell Center and sponsored by the Honeywell Foundation and Grow Wabash County.