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I recently went to California wine country for vacation with my family. Many of the vineyards had rose bushes planted at the end of the vines. We learned that the rose bushes act as a monitor for the grapevines. Both the rose-bush and the grapevine are susceptible to the same types of diseases, so they can predict illness or health concerns in the rose bushes before they cause damage to the vines.

I think people and organizations also have indicators like the rose bush, many times in the form of those small nagging feelings that we often try to avoid or dismiss. At work, someone says something about another person in the shape of gossip. No one takes action to stop the gossip. Fairly soon, the gossip becomes facts and then there is a blow-up that involves people not talking to each other, verbal skirmishes, or sabotage. It is not uncommon to hear the comment, “I knew there was something wrong, but I just hoped it would get better on its own.”

In your life and the life of your organization don’t ignore the indicators. The more often you take action on the indicators, the less crisis you will have to manage in the long run.

 

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