Business Lesson from a Poinsettia

Always do what you've always done

They’re everywhere this time of year, Poinsettias. Their red leaves are a primary color of the Holiday Season.  But, have you ever wondered what makes a normally green leaf turn red? And how can professional poinsettia growers get them to bloom anytime of the year, when the average person struggles to just keep them healthy once they bloom?  How could the answer to that question impact your business? 

What triggers a Poinsettia’s normally green leaves to turn red is a very intentional shift in the amount of light the plant is exposed to in a given 24-hour period.  During the day they must be exposed to sunlight but during the night they must be in total darkness for at least 12-14 hours.  Every night, no exceptions.   Even brief exposures to light during the night hours can impact how the plant’s leafs eventually change color.  This deliberate process of sunlight then total darkness must be repeated for about 40 days. Professional growers can actually manipulate the blooming dates throughout the year by covering the plants when they want to block out all light and trigger the process.

All that is really happening is there is an intentional change being interjected into a normal routine for the Poinsettia plant.   If the amount of light the plant is being exposed to is not shortened to less than 12 hours and repeated consistently for approximately 40 days, the plant would continue to look like a relatively indistinguishable plant with green leaves.  However, the intentional and purposeful change triggers one of the most recognizable and beautiful plants of the season.

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What do Poinsettias have to do with Business? 

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

– Henry Ford

Businesses can have a similar scenario play out if they are not careful.   The normal routine becomes the accepted way of doing business and it’s hard to initiate any positive change because often the entire company is very comfortable just being a green plant like the poinsettia when it’s not in bloom.   They never realize the transformational results that await them on the other side of some intentional efforts. They could change if they just put in the effort and make that commitment to stick with it. 

Just like the Poinsettia Grower, for change to happen in your business (or life), you can’t be a little bit committed.  If the grower wants their plants to turn that beautiful shade of red, they can’t skip a few days of the light/dark cycle and expect positive results. They’re all-in. It’s that kind of commitment that brings change.

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What can you do?  

If you feel like your business is stuck or you’re stuck, it’s probably time to try something new.  Make a list of few things you would consider changing.  You may want to include your management team initially or wait until after you have an initial list identified.  Then as a group, agree on one or two changes you’re going to make to the normal routine that should positively impact the business.  Religiously stick with it for at least a month, no exceptions.  You might be surprised what blooms!

Enjoy the Holiday Season!  As always, we value your comments in the space below.  

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach

1 thought on “Business Lesson from a Poinsettia”

  1. Curt Steinlage says:

    Great view point. My first step is changing my first step and its amazing how easy that can be yet incredibly difficult to do everyday like the discipline of the Poinsettia Growers. This is not discouraging, but encouraging because I know I have a choice.

    Never knew that quote was owned by Henry Ford, I was certain that Zig Ziglar had authored that incredibly profound statement.

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