People or Trees? Nature of Work

"Imagination at Work" sort of... ha

*submitted to Ecomagination Leader Lorraine Bolsinger 6/14/06

Ecomagination - People are like plants...

Simple but works. Just like business, you find the 'root', no pun intended, of the problem, then find solutions. We emphasize "imagination at work" and "ecomagination", but why not mix them?! As employees at GE, we are exposed to wonderful stories and advice on not just business, but self, health, and other issues that we can improve systems on. Whether that be ourselves mentally or physically to ease stress, which can lead to personal development, and lead to increased productivity at work, education, pursuing our dreams; 'ecomagination' can be related to all these venues! While doing some 'lunchtime errand running', I came across a few little plants. If that little plant could breath, flourish, and grow at my desk and in the same environment that I go through in my 'daily jungle', then I can succeed in a healthy manner too. It may need some tender care and attention, being in a not so natural environment, but with some care, attention, and thought, this new friend of mine could thrive. Water, light, right temperature, good air, trimming away the dying parts, keeping the roots and soil healthy, this plant stands a chance. We focus on increased efficiency and productivity in business, but what about for ourselves, and at our own desks, in our own lives?!

I thought, "I wonder if that little fella there would survive in the business world". Weird you say, well, sometimes I think of us as a bunch of trees. If you look at a forest or a group of trees, you start to notice things. Some are old, some are young, some are more green, some are brown, some are a mixture of colorful aesthetics, some are short, some are tall, some are narrow, some are wide. But, they all have roots, they all have a timeline, and a story. Sometimes, if you run your eyes over the landscape, you'll see a few stand out. Tall and strong, above the rest of the other trees. They have great and strong roots. They not only survived the weather, changing times, and other tests of their environment, but they stood strong and proud through the miscellaneous turbulence. They remembered their roots, but moved on through the storms, wind, and made it through the good times, the bad times, and the turbulence in between: successfully.

They were motivated and ambitious enough to take the tools handed them, and become great through perseverance, strength, and a calm cool reflective communication between their roots, trunks, and leaves and the ground they have their roots sunk into. They absorbed the information, vitamins, and observed their surroundings, and made the best of they could, from the most minimal, simple, and important nutrients, stayed focused, didn't fall in line with the other trees surrounding them, and not only survived, but thrived! They took the hard clay and ground they stand in, and break it up, to bloom into something beautiful. People are a lot like trees. GE's employees, training, integrity, efforts, and emphasis are a lot like these trees that stand tall. One thing, trees don't have feet they can follow, and chase their wildest and most creative dreams with, we do!

a 2nd look, just too good to have only one pic, ha

Brian Siegel 2006

Here is an update from 2008 and the "Eco-Plant" - what a metaphor, ha

this is the original plant that we (our team) tried revitalizing several times with miracle grow, the new pot, soil, and other creative means. It worked 3 times, and we generated new growth, but eventually, it went to 'sleep'. Now it's a novelty paper weight!

this was supposed to be the replacement for the original 'Eco-Plant'. It was a bonsai tree (notice I say 'was', ha). It too could not sustain itself in the environment it was in. It flourished for about a year, then started succoming to stress, lack of a natural and purpose driven environment, and nourishment. What a metaphor (come on, laugh, that's funny, you're allowed, ha). So, the bonsai lost it's leaves on one of it's sides entirely (again, another fun metaphor, 1/2 there...) . As you can see, one dried up leaf holds on atop the bonsai, and fell off during it's photo opp, ha.

So the 'eco trees' didn't survive the grind at GE, but definitely earned respect with their persistence. Now they have been replaced with the "Safety Bear" (a random item one of my superiors brought in when his wife was going to throw it out, but he couldn't let it go - so I rescued him from the break room where he had no purpose, and gave him a mission/vision, ha). He has on proper PPE (safety goggles/bandaid), shows his GE loyalty with the rubberband necklass/sticker + GE hat, a flashlight for 'direction/focus', has an identity with the labels at his feet, and the paperclip is a 'tool' for, well, haven't figured it out, it is just there. Strategically inadvertant is my Green Belt Certification, and traditionally sound and cliche coroporate motivational quotes. He should last longer than the trees, we should hope.


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