What to Hold onto from the Past: Dried Flowers Reveal the Truth

My son sent me a lovely winter bouquet for my early December birthday.

And in late January it remains beautiful and reminds me of his love.

For over a month, I removed the dying and decayed flowers and gradually the bouquet grew smaller.  Yet, there were always a few left in the vase– still blessing me with wonder and beauty. It was a perfect formula of temperature, water or maybe even magic, but select flowers endured without a drop of water.

The roses and winter greens settled into a softer palette of dusty colors, now dried flowers that I will keep throughout the year.

Which gets me wondering about the workplace. Whether in our spirit of innovation when we proclaim ‘out with the old,’ we appreciate and value those “older flowers” that inspire us and still reflect beauty.   

Now, I’m a curious person and enjoy change - taking risks - seeking new ideas and processes. But, I need to remind myself that sometimes holding on to the best from the past, is also good. We don’t always have to start fresh. There are important things that need to be honored, respected and kept from the past. 

It’s a common theme of articles talking about “decluttering” house and workspace. Get rid of unnecessary stuff, but don’t throw out the “baby with the bath water,” those things that still reflect value. 

So, here are 3 tips for what to keep.  Those things that create a long-lasting “team bouquet.”

1.       Revered and time-honored work traditions that have emotional value to staff --- that create a sense of team.   Keep these.

2.       Those foundational programs and services that are the roots of the organization (not the branches or leaves).   Keep these.

3.       Employees who may not have all the technological skills but reflect the core values of the organization with high emotional intelligence. Keep these.

What else should we hang on to, as we reinvent our organizations?


MaryAnne Harmer