“There are two things we should give our children: one is roots, and the other is wings.”
My husband and I just packed our oldest daughter off for college. This time in our lives is bittersweet. We are full of pride, excitement, anxiety and sadness. We pray that we have provided her with strong roots so she can spread her wings and begin this new stage of her life.
Businesses are also like children. In the beginning, they are just a dream. Then the idea begins to take shape and slowly becomes a reality. Like parents, entrepreneurs have many sleepless nights, a fair share of disappointment and moments of immense pride. No amount of studying beforehand prepares you for the daily adventures of running a business. Like parenting, it is on-the-job training.
As the life-supporting organ of a tree, roots transport water and minerals to every branch. They also anchor the tree to the ground. We cannot see the roots, but the health and strength of every tree are dependent on this underground structure.
The roots of a business are similar: They are not necessarily seen by the customer, but they are the lifeline of the company and the key to success. Strong businesses are rooted in their vision, values and people.
Vision — Having a clear vision of the company’s future is necessary for success. The original idea is like a seed, and then the dream takes shape to create the organization. This vision may change over time, but the power behind it is imperative to the company’s success and continues to inspire in the future.
Values — It is important to define who you are, your standards for behavior and your company’s beliefs. Your values form the guidelines for making decisions and are the principles you stand for. Your company values shape the culture. Values are more than words on a wall or a website; they are the company’s DNA.
People — Having the right people on your team is critical to a company’s success. It starts with leadership that embraces the values and works towards the vision of the organization. No matter how wonderful a product or service is, if the right people are not involved, a company cannot realize its greatest potential. People are the key to success.
While roots are the life-supporting part of a business, wings are the growth strategies. In nature, wings provide lift and help move a bird forward. The wings of an organization are similar; they propel the business forward.
While staying true to the vision, companies must continue to innovate. Whether through new technology, new processes, or new marketing strategies, businesses must be willing to adapt and evolve in order to grow and prosper. Like the young bird who first learns to fly, companies must be willing to risk falling in order to succeed. And then they need to get back on the branch and try again.
Whether raising a child or starting a business, both roots and wings are necessary. Both must be nurtured, and both are equally important. I am excited for my daughter as she leaves home and begins school. Hopefully, we have instilled her with the values she needs to make good decisions and the love to know that we always support her. This is her chance to spread her wings, and I can’t wait to watch her soar!
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Propel HR is an IRS-certified PEO that has been a leading provider of human resources and payroll solutions for more than 20 years. Propel partners with small to midsize businesses to manage payroll, employee benefits, compliance and risks, and other HR functions in a way that maximizes efficiency and reduces costs. For more information, visit www.propelhr.com.