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Pansies And Tulips April 3, 2009

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Leadership.
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Last fall, my wife bought some potted plants to put on our front porch.  As winter approaches, she plants pansies in our front flower beds.  The pots came with pansies pre-installed.  For reasons that escape me, pansies like cold weather and bloom throughout the winter.  As spring approaches, they wither and she plants new things for the new year.

This year, as spring approached and the pansies began to peter out, she got a pleasant surprise.  Unbeknownst to her, there were tulip bulbs buried in the pots, underneath the pansies.  As the pansies died, the tulips sprouted, providing a beautiful welcome to the spring.  Even better, tulips are one of her favorite flowers, so the surprise was especially nice.

The pots weren’t advertised as having tulips in them.  She wasn’t expecting tulips.  Had the pansies gone about their business and died, she wouldn’t have been disappointed. But she got tulips.  Without asking, she got bonus flowers that made her original purchase of pansies that much nicer.

Wouldn’t it be great if every purchase we made or service we provided had some hidden tulips in the bottom?  How much happier would our customers be if we always provided a little extra surprise at no extra charge?

As you go about your job today, big or small, deliver the pansies.  But make sure you plant a tulip, too.  It may not sprout for six months or more, but imagine the smile you’ll bring when it does.


1. Rebeka Clifton - April 3, 2009

This is a beautiful analogy, Chuck, and can apply to so many areas in our lives. Thank you!

2. Soup And Flowers « The Effective CIO - April 10, 2009

[…] week, I encouraged everyone to deliver pansies but plant tulips.  This week, take the time to make sure someone tastes your soup before your only choice is to […]

3. kristy s - August 27, 2009

i planted pansies a couple weeks ago and when i was watering my plants my pansies were slumped opver and the leaves are yellow the pretty floers are falling off are they dieing already it is ugust and they are dieing already ? do they servive in the fall weather to they look like a bush more then regular panies any thoughts on this plant ?

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