hand with plantDiscovering principles of growth in vision-casting

A sign on a tree farm read, “The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago. The second best time is today.”

Trees are the subject of countless artistic works. Joyce Kilmer wrote these classic words, “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” Trees also serve as a pulpit for environmentalists and politicians. FDR said, “Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” According to the website, About.com, approximately 2.5 million acres of trees are planted annually.

Trees are often symbolic. The Bible speaks of spiritual character as a “tree planted by the water.” They also symbolize leadership principles. Planting trees is like casting a vision; a seed is carefully sowed with an expectation of abundant blossoming.

Casting a vision for growth is like planting a tree. But like a tree; it will not blossom without attention to detail. Planting trees and casting a vision have some of the same characteristics:

Trees and vision need the right location.

Hopefully everyone knows the importance of contacting the utility company before planting. Some locations are difficult, and others are downright dangerous. Consider the location for your vision casting. Are there dangers—such as financial obligations, limited facilities, or lack of staff—that may endanger your planting effort?

Trees and vision need good seed.

Trees produce thousands of seeds on their own. But only one survives, says John Poulsen of Duke University. Whether spread by the wind or falling from the tree, that champion seed must reach the right spot, in the right environment. It is the same with an organizational vision. There may be several components to your vision, but one will be the champion. Identify it—and go with it.

Trees and vision need the right season.

The ideal planting seasons are during the dormant season or in the early spring, depending on whether it is “bare-root” tree or a “root-balled” sapling that has the protection of earth or burlap enclosure. “Root-balled” trees may be planted at any time. Every leader understands that vision-casting has its season. Is the time ripe? Developing leaders learn to look for   indications as to how it is being received by decision-makers—and whether they are beating the same drum, or marching in another band.

Trees and vision need good soil. 

Good seed planted in bad soil will not grow good trees. The soil needs nutrients, water, and sunlight. Is your vision planted in good soil? How is it related to your mission and purpose? Have you prepared the soil with a positive perspective, personal affirmation, and public enthusiasm? Think about the planting.

Trees and vision need watering.

Trees without moisture will die. One horticulturist advises 10 gallons of water for every inch of tree trunk. Hand watering is also advised. Watering times are good times to help the growing process, and a good time to look for other problems. Casting vision is not for loners. It calls for personal interaction—up close. Interaction will also help to spot potential problems. Invigorate the growing process.

Trees and vision need protection. 

Bugs and disease are common enemies of the tree. Trees need a layer of protection. Regular inspection is a necessity, and careful spraying with insecticides or herbicides is advisable. Vision also has its enemies. It needs protection. Make regular inspections. Be proactive in reinforcing it through public and private conversation.

Cast your vision with an encouraged heart, my friend. This is a good growing season—and the best is yet to come. I’m thrilled to share this exciting journey with you.

You are loved,