What Giant Redwoods Can Teach Us About Teamwork

There are many amazing things in America, the coast redwood trees in Northern California are but one.

I learned something fascinating about these trees, one of which is they are the tallest trees on Earth, growing to 350 feet high (or the equivalent of a 35 story building).

Yet, considering their height, these giants have a very shallow root system, extending “over one hundred feet from the base, intertwining with the roots of other redwoods. This increases their stability during strong winds and floods.”

How is your organization’s “root system?”

Why does this fascinate me?

Think of the implications for each tree, which cannot survive alone. It must intermingle its roots with its neighbors to build a sustaining network for long-term survival, even in the harshest conditions. Yet each tree can still grow to impossible heights on its own.

Now think of the similarities in how true teamwork can strengthen a company as a whole and yet still allow individuals to grow.

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A solid team structure provides the root system needed for information sharing, learning, and support while enabling each person to achieve their own personal heights based on their unique talents and abilities.

What does the “root system” look like in your organization? Among your team?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.

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1 Comment on “What Giant Redwoods Can Teach Us About Teamwork

  1. We have been asked many times in sales meetings why any of this “engagement stuff” matters. Demonstrating to managers that the key to employee retention, productivity and happiness is giving them a sense of belonging that ideally becomes mutually reinforcing is the key to long term success in this area.

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