Leadership: Jack Pine

I recently learned an interesting fact about the Jack Pine. This type of Pine tree produces a specific cone called the serotinous cone. Each cone will stay on a tree for several years before dropping to the ground. Once a cone drops to the ground it does not release the seeds inside right away. Instead, the seeds remain in the cone because it is tightly sealed with a resinous substance that requires high temperatures for the cone to open and release the seeds. Once the temperature reaches at least 140 degrees, but often much higher during a fire, the cone will expand and the seeds will naturally fall to the ground. In other words, the cones must go through a fire to grow.

As leaders we too need heat to grow. Sometimes this happens while absorbing the feel-good warmth of the sun, but more often than not, we expand and grow through difficult and painful times. The challenge is that our nature is to run from a fire because we fear the pain. We often see the pain as a problem and not a necessity or even a gift. But what if leaders understood that they needed the heat to grow into the leader they were meant to be? What if the trial was seen as a part of the process? What if it wasn’t something to run from but something to seek out?

The Jack Pine is known as a tree that can quickly repopulate an entire forest after the mass destruction of a fire. Great leaders not only survive a difficult and heated situation but they too are able to bring growth when a situation seems hopeless. The best leaders I know expand and grow during difficult times.

So leaders, the next time a painful situation comes your way and you feel the urge to turn and run think about this; what if you are running from growth? What if you need you to stay in the pain to grow and to bring new life where there is no hope.

Great leaders stay. We need you to stay.

Molly Grisham, mollygrisham.com
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Molly Grisham