Plans, rice, trees and children
If your plan is for one year, plant rice.
If your plan is for ten years, plant tree.
If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.
Planning is something I have been giving a lot of thought to over the past two weeks. I have been reviewing this blog to assess my own leadership development, particularly how my views on Coaching have changed. From skepticism to watering the roots of an organisation, an important component of any successful ten year plan. I have also read a fair amount on the long term educational goals of one or two key education states, or noted the absence of any easily accessible information, as I consider an international education leadership experience. Hence, you can understand why the sentiment of the quote struck a chord.
A little investigation shows that the adapted quotation (often attributed to Confucius) is someway from the original statement – more likely from Guan Zhong.
The best investment for one year is to grow grains; the best investment for ten years is to grow trees; the best investment for a lifetime is to educate people. What you gain from one year’s growth will be grains; what you gain from ten years’ growth will be trees; what you gain from a hundred years’ growth will be people. Guan Zhong (720 – 645 BCE)
As for UK education: regrettably, every political change and brought forth educational reform. As a result, we seem to be harvesting a lot of rice and replanting trees before they mature and provide shade. The additional industry leading to worn out or broken tools and an tired workforce.
As for my own professional plans: Every year I plant rice and record it here on this blog. I have in mind to plant trees, yet ten years feels a rather long cycle. Possibly a five year or three year plan would be more manageable?
Retrospectively, I have recorded and collated more than ten years of insights, successes and failures. In reviewing just one theme, Coaching, I believe there were leadership and professional pitfalls and pot-holes that I could have avoided had they been signposted. Second, I ponder whether a longer term professional outlook or plan (five – ten years) may have either accelerated or deepened my professional self-awareness and/or effectiveness? Potentially, though I recognise that I would have needed to have been more receptive and open to being Coached, than I was. Revealing that short sightedness would have been a difficult task.
As for my own personal plans – those trees are gradually growing taller.