In every neighborhood there is a standout yard. The plants are verdant, the foliage colorful, and each individual element complements the whole. Yards worthy of the pages of Better Homes and Gardens reflect the hand of a skillful gardener. The C-suite leader can learn from the expertise of a master gardener. Here are three principles from horticulture that benefit higher education.

1. Fundamentals matter. The beautiful blooms that you see are the result of rich soil. Good gardens are rooted in nutrient rich dirt. Inexperienced gardeners are eager to consider pretty plants, but often fail to consider the context these plants need to flourish. There is nothing glamorous about loam, but a good gardener is willing to get their hands dirty and attend to the essentials that provide a foundation for everything else. 

2. Diversity benefits the ecosystem. Nature abhors a monoculture. In a healthy ecosystem, different organisms enrich one another and work together to create a thriving whole. A monoculture is susceptible to threats, while a diversified environment can adapt and endure. Diversity of perspectives, experience, and strengths will make your organization more robust and successful. 

3. We need different parameters to grow. Each plant has its own requirements for light, water, and temperature. The amount of water a tomato plant needs would kill a succulent. An insightful manager will be attuned to the different needs of his staff members and provide each with the resources and feedback they need to grow.

4. Diligence pays dividends
. A burgeoning garden requires continuous attention. A skillful gardener waters, weeds, prunes, and propagates. Some moments, like an initial bloom on a lovingly tended rosebush, bring gratification. Many moments do not. They are sweaty, not sensational. Dependability and perseverance are not glamorous, but they are worth it. With careful attention, beautiful things will bloom.