Harvest Season

It’s autumn – a season that’s named twice, fall and autumn – not a season that is generally thought of as a time of renewal. However, in autumn there is still a lot of activity going on. It’s the season of the harvest – when the final crops are coming in and being sold. Go to a local farm – even if you live in the heart of a large city, a trip to the farm or country is a great thing to do on a weekend. At the farm, you’ll see pumpkin patches, a sea of mums in all different fall colors, stacks of hay and hay rides, apples and apple cider, and often more. Go apple picking, drink cider and eat apple pie! If a farm isn’t your thing, go to a winery – they’re popping up all over. Grapes are being harvested and wine is being made. Go grape picking and drink wine! And there are all the fall craft fairs with handmade items! New things are all over.

Spring is often associated with newness and growth – the time when things are being planted and starting to come to life. There’s lots of creativity, innovation, and energy associated with this season of the year and this stage in the business life cycle – the introductory stage. Then comes the growth stage – summer. All those seeds that were planted are cultivated and grow. In the business cycle, the organization is managing all the ideas that were cultivated during the start-up phase and meeting the demands of its markets and clients, customers and stakeholders. 

Then comes fall – the air has a crispness to it. It’s invigorating. There is still lots of work to do. On the farms after the harvest, there’s cleanup from this year’s crop in order to get ready for next year’s growing season. Renew and sustain. In the business cycle, it’s the stage when organizations need to be flexible and contemplative. It’s time to harvest the results of hard work and review successes and lessons learned – what’s worked and what hasn’t. What can be renewed and repurposed? What is no longer working? Smart organizations are leveraging the products and services they have already cultivated during this maturity stage of the business life cycle and looking at beyond to determine what’s next. What new and exciting things can we plan to do to avoid going into decline and stay entrenched in the past? 

Recognizing and managing the various stages of the organization’s life cycle is important for leaders and the associates in an organization as well. As leaders, keep the heat of the summer season – the growth cycle – going even as winter – that pesky dormant phase approaches.  It’s during autumn – the maturity stage – when it’s critical for leaders to inform, influence and inspire their teams to be creative and innovative – to develop and cultivate new ideas and be ready to begin anew!

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