My gardens are full of “critters.” There are all kinds of critters which I kind of group by the number of legs. The birds with two legs and wings – some are helpful and others destructive pulling out new sprouts or eating all of the fruit the buds have brought. The four legged group of furry and reptilian, usually looking for a meal. The exception is my dog Anna, who usually is just curious or chasing something that she thought was interesting with a bad habit of digging if it is something that burrows. The group with six and eight legs includes predators that are not welcome as well as those that help get rid of the pests. The last group includes those with many legs like the millipedes and those without legs like the snakes.All of these groups are a part of the ecosystem that exists in my gardens. Within that ecosystem, each has a purpose whether or not it aligns with mine. I marvel at all, even the ones I am not fond of. Companies also have critters exhibiting many characteristics some desirable and some not. Think about some of the people in your company and those you have met in business and I am sure that you will find the same type of critters in the ecosystem of business.
Within the birds, there is a large variety ranging from the colorful songbirds looking for seed, fast flying hummingbirds that prefer the nectar of anything red and the cackling crows that seem to delight in pulling out young sprouts, stealing dog food and seeming to taunt anyone they see. We also see a few geese who mistake our pool for a natural water source walking around with a defiant strut and willing to charge anyone who crosses their path. The raptors we see include wise hooting owls that hunt small prey and turkey vultures the caretakers of waste that would otherwise be detritus waiting to return to the earth.There is a large variety in the four legged group as we are surrounded by woods with a creek on one side. These include the furry ones – deer that can strip a bush quickly; coyotes that tear things up a bit in the chase, cats and dogs that roam and the rodents. The rodent group includes the bunnies that are cute at first but have no problem harvesting a meal and digging holes. They are bait for larger predators, excepting one that we call Harvey due to his size. Other rodents range from the large like the raccoons and opossums to the smaller ones like chipmunks, voles, moles, squirrels, mice, and their larger cousins – rats dig, bury, and tunnel, some are far less welcome than others. The bats which are neither birds or rodents with their winged arms and bit of creepiness are welcomed as they love to feast on annoying mosquitos.
Reptiles also make up a part of the four legged group from the small turtles that plod along looking for bugs and low vegetation. Frogs that catch all sorts of insects and the bull frogs that proudly announce their presence throughout the summer and small lizards that skim the surface, change colors and help manage the six legged population.The six legged group often bring trouble from the cicadas with their rhythmic songs to every type of beetle, bee, wasp, mosquito, fly and more. Those that mind their business are left alone to do their work in the ecosystem. The butterflies and even some of the moths that present beautiful colors and float seemingly without purpose on gentle wisps of wind are admired for the beauty but leave a trail of damage as they feast on fresh vegetation and in evolution become the next generation of larvae chewing up roots and leaves until the next hatch occurs. The destructive ones present a constant battle.
Spiders spin exotic webs catching sunlight and flying prey. Watching their eight legs move in a synchronized dance as they approach what has been caught is always interesting.I know that for the most part, snakes are good to have in a garden but there is something about their slithering presence and ways of seeming to always surprise me that is a bit unnerving and unwelcome. Most are actually docile, but some will rise up, stand their ground and make the motions of an attack over just about any disturbance. The smaller versions of worms, I can handle.
The caterpillars and millipedes are fascinating when you see them moving with the many legs and prolegs all moving in sync. The caterpillars are destined for flight but are usually pretty obnoxious with voracious eating habits that remind me of my kids as teenagers growing up. The millipedes are shy and simply try to hide from sight.So many people I have met in companies come to mind when thinking of the characteristics of all of the critters that are in my gardens. Companies are an ecosystem too. No company is healthy if there is no diversity. The varieties of characteristics, motivators and even personalities allow companies to tackle opportunities, grow and thrive. There is always work to do in selection, control and management but in the end, give me the critters and I have all of the options to keep everything in bloom.