Planting seeds is an excellent metaphor for many team activities. Seeds can represent opportunities, growth, change, and development. Rather than just talk about the metaphor, why not let your team experience planting real seeds. You will provide them with a sensory experience that will create a strong memory and reinforce the key theme you want to impart. As a bonus, each team member will have a plant to keep on their desk as a constant reminder of your key message.
Here are three situations and messages for which this activity can be used:
- You want your team to focus on GROWTH. Perhaps the Sales Team needs to sell more products or your company is growing and your Human Resources Team needs to fill new positions.
- Your team is about to embark on a NEW BEGINNING. You want to put a mark in the sand as you establish this new beginning towards a big team goal.
- You want your team to work more effectively together. You want them to talk about what it takes to grow and sustain a high-performing team.
- Small plant pots
- Potting Soil
- Seeds (examples: Money Tree Seeds, Peace Lily, Marigold, Spider Plant, or Philodendron)
- Gather your supplies and lay them out on a big table.
- Set up the activity by choosing the best metaphor for your situation:
a. Business Growth
“We want to experience significant growth this year. How is the work we do like growing a plant from seeds?”
Possible responses: We have to plant seeds carefully; we have to provide the right balance of water and sun for growth; at first we may not see anything from our efforts, but if we continue to nurture the seeds they will grow into a plant.
b. New Beginnings
“We are establishing our roots, so we will be successful with our (team, project, goal). How is this new (team, project, goal) like growing a plant from seeds?”
Possible responses: We need to have a clear vision of what we are trying to grow; we need to be sure we have the right supplies; we need to monitor and nurture our seeds constantly so they will grow.
c. Team Building
“We want to take time to care for our team so it thrives. How is our team development like growing a plant from seeds?”
Possible responses: Teams grow and flourish when they are taken care of, but wilt and die if ignored; it takes time and effort to grow a team
3. Invite each person to plant their seeds. Play music and make it a festive experience.
4. Encourage the team members to put their potted seeds on their desk and nurture their soon to
During the weeks after this activity, look for ways to reinforce the metaphor. One team that did this had a lot of fun with each other. Some people gave their seeds a lot of TLC and others did not. They even got a little competitive with each other about whose plant was the biggest or healthiest.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field, Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are highly productive and positive. Learn about her Better Teams Model and Team Assessment here.
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