On our company's Facebook page, H Collaborative: Conscientious Leadership, you will see an image of an Aspen Tree grove. It’s a soothing, calm picture but many of you may not know that we deliberately selected this image as a metaphor for our philosophy.
Certainly, the Aspen tree is a treat for the eyes and ears. Not only is it a lovely tree, but it is also magical as when a breeze passes and the leaves flutter a peaceful humming melody is created that quiets the mind.
But our love of the tree goes deeper than its impact on our senses.
The Aspen tree uniquely connects through its robust root system with every other aspen tree in its vicinity- some over 40 feet away. That is what we call collaboration … sharing a collective strength and resiliency that can overcome stresses and challenges like disease and fire.
Here are some other facts – thanks to Google:
- Aspen trees are located throughout the world and Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) is the most widely dispersed tree in North America. It is found growing in the high mountains of central Mexico, as well as in mountainous regions as far north as the Arctic Circle.
- Some of the first American Indians to arrive in the United States used the leaves of the Aspen to treat swollen joints, headaches and burns. Meanwhile, parts of the bark were consumed to alleviate stomach ailments and urinary tract infections.
- Their root systems are connected and a part of a colony, sending up new trunks as older trunks die off above ground
LESSON: Connectedness (teamwork) for Survival
- Quaking aspen colonies are virtually impossible to kill. Individual stems can be destroyed by humans, wildlife, and disease, but the underground root system is resistant to almost all these external circumstances.
LESSON: Resiliency through the collective
- When an aspen tree dies, chemical signals from the tree to the roots stimulate new sprouts to start growing. Through this regrowth, an aspen clone usually lives much longer than its individual trees.
LESSON: Together a legacy can be created
- Given the Aspen colony is one system, they help other trees in the grove. “ If a tree 30 feet away is thirsty, the trees where water is more abundant, will work in unison to pass water through the root system to the tree that needs it . If another tree is lacking in certain nutrients or minerals, these will be passed through the root system from one tree to the one in need," said Gail Lynn Goodwin of InspireMeToday.com. “
LESSON: Generosity and sharing serves all
Like the Aspen grove, we are all connected, sharing and collaborating in the spirit of “It takes a village to raise a child”. Together we can accomplish things we cannot do alone. Together we can support one another and thrive as Conscientious Organizations.
Yes, Aspens are a fitting metaphor for what HCollaborative is all about. Please join us.