The American poet Robert Frost observed that our ideas are like seeds. “To flourish, when we harvest, we must not consume them all but turn some back to the earth to be transformed to compost in order to further enrich the soil. Out of one idea grows another…and that also is turned under. The seeds that are finally offered is the result of a patient waiting upon the gift – and it grows in response to the months of patient turning and building of the soil.” (From Robert Frost; A Life. (Jay Parini)
Most organizations are not short of innovative ideas. What they do lack, however, is an environment that allows for the careful enrichment of the soil in order for these seeds of possibility to take root and grow. What builds this soil is conversation. But not all conversations are the same. The leader’s ‘art’ involves knowing which conversation they are taking part in – and which ones they should be taking part in – in order to achieve the results they desire. Let us lead then in a manner through which conversation creates fertile ground.