The metaphor of Water the Bamboo speaks directly to the time, care, and intentionality it requires to nurture and create something of real value. It provides a proven road map for team accomplishment and long-term group success. After several years of careful tending actual bamboo, it finally sprouts and then grows to over 90 feet tall in just two months.
The growth that is experienced is traced directly back to the thoughtful planning and the commitment invested in stewarding the process toward the ultimate goal. The analogy of leadership working intentionally to build the capacity of their team over years, for the future moment when they will be able to perform at their best, is made in an easily readable and enjoyable format.
Water the Bamboo has proved to be a great benefit to businesses and teams with regard to the establishment of values, alignment of efforts and resources, development of team members, and the setting clear goals for the organization. Alignment of values and actions emerges at several points within the book and is supported with stories of sustained success.
The author speaks very eloquently about engaging in activities and prioritizing one’s time in alignment with what matters most to the organization. To this end, he urges the reader to “crystalize” and become exceptionally clear about their end goal. The intentional alignment of time and values is then juxtaposed through examples, with one’s actions. Are a leader’s actions in alignment with values and goals? This is a question that the author addresses several times within the text. Thoughtfully considering potential courses of action for one’s business through a “values filter” is a challenge to the reader at several places in the book as well.
Bell makes the point that the teams with whom he works are much “happier, focused, and energized” because they are working toward clearly articulated goals that are in direct alignment with their collective chosen values. He urges the reader to take the time necessary to be clear on the ultimate direction of their quest. Relationships and systems improvement that is invested in a goal that is not well articulated can result in an outcome, even if successful, that is not fulfilling. A quote supporting the importance of careful planning and clear articulation of one’s goals is, “vision without action is a daydream… and action without vision is a nightmare”.
Throughout the book, the themes of healthy relationships, clearly established systems and goals, as well as investing in the success of others, emerge in several ways. “The Bamboo Circle” is the author’s construct for encouraging the leader to surround themselves with trusted advisors and colleagues with whom they can share ideas. The book strongly stresses the importance of a shared culture, aligned values, and intentional actions. Water the Bamboo Is a very positive read for a leader at any stage along their journey. It is highly recommended!