The Banyan Tree is a species of fig tree that grows aerial prop roots; thick supporting trunks. Prop roots allow the Banyan Tree to provide additional anchorage and support. The circling of prop roots allows these enormous trees to not only grow taller but also wider. A large Banyan Tree can be over 100 feet( 30 meters) wide.
Prop roots provide a wonderful metaphor for individuals and teams learning to leverage their collective strengths. Questions to consider:
- What are your prop roots?
- Who are your prop roots?
- In what situations do you not rely on prop roots?
- In what situations might you consider growing more prop roots?
In organizations we are often encouraged to “figure it out on our own”. Independent thinking has it’s place and benefits. However, at times this independence can lead to silos and literally trunks with no support. What would happen if independence was supported by others? What if every person in a community, family or organization knew their prop roots and felt free to lean into them? Could we grow stronger because of grounded, clear support?
Strong individuals and organizations work to understand their collective strengths. They find ways to support each other with pride and lean with purpose and certainty. Individuals stand strong once they have clarity of their own talents and strengths. They have even stronger anchorage and foundations when they grow collaborative prop roots and lean into the strengths of others
What are your prop roots? Values? Policies? Faith? Philosophies? How do they support you?
Who are your prop roots? Colleagues? Family? Mentors? Teachers? How can you engage them to grow stronger together?
Why do you avoid leaning into prop roots? Confidence? Lack of clarity of purpose? Fear of being seen as weak or dependent? Judging yourself hearing that inner voice of “I can do this on my own” or “everyone else is so busy I won’t ask for support” or “I should be able to figure this out without help?”
Where could you develop prop roots more intentionally? Problem solving? Innovation and creativity? Conflict resolution? Vision setting? Stress management?
In India the Banyan Tree is one of the most venerated trees. It is called Kalpavriksha, the tree that provides fulfilment of wishes. What dreams and wishes could come true for you in your community, organization and family if you nourished and grew more prop roots?