Some really great things have been happening on our visit to our India office. In addition to hiring 2 new developers, 1 tester and a designer, we shared a lot on improving our projects and engaged our R&D team in some awesome discussion on new products. Outside of the office, we broke off into 2 teams and Chris and I enjoyed our first game of Cricket.
A few days ago we had the pleasure of visiting a very unique community called Auroville. Auroville came to be in February of 1968 when some 5,000 people representing 124 nations came to India and participated in a ceremony. They each contributed soil from their homeland as a symbol of unity, that Auroville would be a place where people “of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.” The place where they joined to perform this ceremony is in the picture below…and it is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen yet.
What do you see? It looks like a bunch of trees…beautifully and carefully placed to grow together, but looks can be deceiving. This is a Banyan Tree…and it’s all ONE TREE. How it works is that the tree’s branches grow out, but as they continue to grow out laterally, along the way new roots grow out from the branches and down to the earth to support additional growth. The new roots can be so thick that they appear to be separate trees. It’s simply a beautiful sight to behold, and a perfect location for the unity ceremony.
The growth of the Banyan Tree occurred to me as a great analogy to business. Building anything, whether it’s a business or a house, requires a foundation. What many companies experience, however, is that their foundation cannot support their growth, causing them to fall. The reason the Banyan Tree doesn’t fall is because it continues to add to its foundation as it grows.
Good businesses are built with several layers of support that push information up and down the hierarchy. Without a good foundation to support those layers, the flow is disrupted and bad information can be shared, usually resulting in bad decisions. If you’re in the business world, you have probably experience this in some form or fashion. Small issues can usually be corrected, but bigger issues can easily lead to business failure. For this reason, having the right people and the right processes in place is vital to creating a strong foundation. As your business grows, so do your people and your processes.
After writing the first part of this blog I decided to do a little more research on the Banyan Tree, and what I discovered was pretty interesting. I found that in the ancient language Gujarati, the word “Banya” translates to “Grocer or Merchant”. This stems from when long ago, Hindu merchants would conduct business under Banyan Trees because of the shade they provided.
Can your business grow outward and upward like the Banyan Tree? Does your foundation have layers of support…people and processes…to handle your growth?