#3 Caring fosters growth & development.

In raising a bonsai, one must commit daily to the relationship with the plant, and that relationship requires disciplined and artful attention to changing temperatures, to sunlight, to moisture, to wind – to a variety of factors, some knowable and some unpredictable. A bonsai must be attended to with intention – nourished, watered, and grafted. You must use the correct tools, which are specific for the job and do not apply to other plants.

The craft can yield a richly beautiful plant, yet the craft is lifeless if not infused by the caretaker’s presence to the vulnerable plant’s needs. The caretaker’s resonance with the plant is central here. That connection in that caring relationship constitutes part of the very environment in which the plant grows and develops.

And so it is with business. Business can be a lifeless charade if not grounded in a core caring for and connection with the customer and the world. I refer here to a genuine relationship based on concern for “the other,” not a digitally driven customer relationship management system.

Granted, in our company, we mind our costs and pricing. However, our overarching attention rests on caring relationships and excellent execution, just as the bonsai caretaker does. Our profit then precipitates out of that alchemical process of presence, care and execution. Profit is not the motive; it is merely one metric of how well we are executing.

Or maybe we could say the bonsai approach keeps score differently. We dig more deeply to discover how we can care better for our customers and our world and translate that caring into business practices. Then the profit takes care of itself.

You might say profit is oxygen for a business. Granted, but if profit is the oxygen, then meaning is the blood of a business. And that profit won’t have far to go without meaning to carry it.