I was enjoying the Redwoods in Rotorua, New Zealand yesterday when my friend reminded me of a wonderful analogy Collette Larsen wrote about redwoods and team building. With great gratitude to Collette, I share some of Collette’s wonderful wisdom (with some added insight from me)
1. Redwoods reach their incredible height because they grow very close to each other. Redwoods are always surrounded by other redwoods! Because the 100 plus inches of annual rainfall leaves the soil with few nutrients, the trees rely on each other for their vital nutrients. Only redwoods have the strength to support other redwoods.
2. Redwoods actually need fire to survive. The bark on the redwoods is very thick – up to twelve inches and contains tannins, chemical that resist burning. As fire sweeps through a redwood forest, it burns other plants and debris, enriching the soil. This provides nutrients for the redwood seeds that by the way, are the size of a tomato seed.
3. Baby redwoods actually sprout from the roots of the parent tree. This is a very common sight in a redwood forest. The baby tree gets its nutrients from the parent tree until it’s root system has spread and intertwined with the root systems of the trees surrounding it.
4. The redwoods’ ability to out-compete other trees through rapid growth has been a key to their survival. Redwoods literally race for the sun – growing up to two feet a year in order the get the light they need to survive.
5. The root systems of redwoods are very shallow. The roots grow no deeper than about ten feet and yet they support a tree that is the height of a football field. It seems impossible but in reality, the roots of the redwood tree graft and interlock with the systems of the trees surrounding it, creating a vast interlocking root platform. This prevents the toppling of even the tallest and most massive trees when soil layers become fully saturated and soggy during prolonged flooding.
Can you begin to count all the parallels we can draw from redwoods that relate to building powerful teams. Here are a few:
- We must hold onto, support and nurture each other.
- It is easier to build your business fast than to build it slow. Race for the sun.
- Challenge is a good thing. The fire helps us discover who we really are.
- Baby redwoods sprout from parent trees.
- The key to a powerful team is a powerful interlocking system of like minded team players that uplift each other
My Team Northrup team is built on these principles. Email me at email@example.com if you would like to learn more about how you can be part of our team!