The Gift of Rain

I sat in the green tunnel shaped by the trees in my yard, under the cover of a deck awning listening to the sounds of the rain and the birds. The rain brought a fresh smell. The birds were frolicking among the tree branches and rain drops. I’d catch a glimpse of one opening its beak and drinking in the fresh water – just like I was drinking in the tranquility of the moment.

Rain – it brings the water that sustains all living things – humans, birds, other animals and plants – plants that feed us all and allow us to thrive. A Native American man in the Southwest, where rain and water are scarce, once told me how his culture celebrated the rain when it came because rain is the source of life. 

A farmer I know once wrote that February is the month of the plow if you’re a farmer who tills the soil. Even though there is still a bit of freezing left to be done, plowed land benefits from the freezing and thawing action.  Even better is the opportunity to plow in fresh snow which has the effect of fertilizer on the land. The gift of rain – it keeps giving and helping the Earth to thrive.

Agriculture, like any other business enterprise, is challenged with issues of nurturing and sustaining resources so the business and the people who depend on it can grow and thrive. My farmer friend often writes about organic agriculture – addressing the current trend and requests for organically grown food – meat and vegetables. He laments that organic agriculture takes more time and more people, and the community of people he grew up with in the field are all gone. He has no one to pass his knowledge to. Of the many interns he has had, only one went on to farm on their own – the rest went on to work behind a desk which speaks to the actual education they received. Like any industry, good agriculture needs good people – people who understand the role that nature plays.  

Developing people so they can help a business thrive is a challenge faced by every industry. It’s such an important topic, that we devoted not a chapter, but an entire section to it in The Big Book of HR. The first step in employee development should be assessing employee development needs. This can be done through a number of methods, such as reviewing prior performance appraisals or conducting interviews and focus groups to name just a few. Next we discuss the best approaches for employee development. We explore various training approaches, mentoring, and other development methods. Coaching is so critical to employee development that we devoted an entire chapter to this topic. Finally, in our latest revised and expanded edition, we explore the emerging trends in performance management so organizations can design programs that meet their needs. 

Many of us are so fortunate to have grown in professional communities where we were surrounded with great mentors, like my farmer friend. We understand the role that people play in organizations. We need to pass that wisdom along!

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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.