The Founder's Potted Pals Change Prospectus
The Potted Pals Team thanks you for choosing our plants. This is the story of how Potted Pals came about. It was written by our Co-Founder in a Change Prospectus format and addresses topics such as Leadership, Change, Risk, and Entrepreneurship.
Plants are known to have many positive effects on our human species. Plants clean the air we breathe, boost our productivity and creativity, reduce stress, and even lower background noise. It is important for indoor plants to be accessible and affordable for the public. However, coming from a large city I understand firsthand how inaccessible healthy green plants are. On Mother’s Day, the closest I could get to buying a nice plant for my mother was a half-wilted, two-dollar rose from the shirtless street vendor at the red light on my way home from school. I can only imagine how hard it is to find houseplants for decent prices in crowded concrete jungles like New York or Los Angeles. An external change that I am committed to creating within our society is making the process of buying potted plants easy and accessible so that more people can benefit from their presence.
For most people that live in cities, the best way to buy a plant is at the garden center of a chain home-improvement store. These plants spend a few weeks traveling on trucks through hot environments without water and light, then make their way through warehouses without proper care before making it to their final destination. When they are placed on the shelf for purchase, their sticker price is often exorbitant for the age and quality of the plant. There is a need for plant-lovers to have access to plants at an affordable price, shipped directly to their door in a short amount of time.
Another need for this change is personal. My family owns a family wholesale nursery and the agricultural sector has really changed our way of living for the better. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, business has not been good for my family. People are not going to garden centers to walk around and buy plants anymore, nor are they going out of their way to stop at their local plant brokers to redesign their gardens. This is problematic because those middleman plant businesses are our nursery’s clients and inevitably, they are the reason my family is able to put food on the table every day.
The vehicle through which I will create the change I envision to address these needs is a website where plant-lovers can order the plants they want at an affordable price. The company will be called Potted Pals. These plants would ship directly from our family nursery where we grow, fertilize, and take care of your plants. They would then arrive directly at your front door in less than a week, beautiful and healthy. All the pant enthusiast would have to do is open the box, pull the thriving plants out, and enjoy them. This business, if implemented successfully, would be of great help to my family, a possible future career for me, and make plants easier to access.
Bordas explicitly mentioned that the first step towards committing to a change is deciding to establish an intention (2012, p.198). Therefore, the ideal I am committed to is to see indoor plants proliferate into homes and offices around the globe. Plants have to be more widespread; they were there before us for a reason and should remain common in our everyday settings. Potted Pals will start as a small-scale operation based in my family nursery. This makes the most sense to start small and local because “local actions can emerge as a powerful system with influence at a more global or comprehensive level” if the changes remain connected (Wheatley, 2006, p.3). The end-goal and vision for the organization is to one day see Potted Pals in homes around the country. To begin, the houseplants will be shipped locally out of Miami with the headquarters being located at the same place for ease of access and oversight. Additionally, the team would start very small, initially as a family establishment. The demand for our plants, if exponential, could lead to the development of new branches which would permit for international shipping if we are able to keep the plants intact and alive.
After long hours of contemplation and having taken the time to get out of my comfort zone, I devised a plan of action. Prochaska’s action stage is now in full effect:
Firstly, the people. Finding people to help you enact a change is a lot harder than one might think. I realized something when I started talking about my idea to friends and relatives: people had a hard time understanding the purpose behind the change I wanted to enact. Bridges explained this very well: “You may discover that people have trouble understanding the purpose because they do not have a realistic idea of where the organization really stands and what its problems are” (2016, p.75). Close acquaintances were skeptical at first. “Why would I buy plants online when I can just go to Home Depot or Lowe’s?” they asked. What won them over, in the end, was the emotional story and the passion I had when explaining the concept of Potted Pals. That’s when I knew the team had to be passionate about the change. To a certain extent, the founding team is just a leader and a couple of followers that need to feel empowered to push through.
Potted Pals, which I am now committed to creating, would not be possible without some very important people in my life. As Wheatley mentions, “life grows and changes through the strength of its connections and relationships” (2006, p.7). This holds true to my external change because it would not be feasible if I didn’t have the expertise or resources of my parents and their coworkers. As part of my network, my parents have been very useful when it comes to advising me on the approach I should take when tackling this project and change. Their business expertise and entrepreneurial spirit has guided me through this process. Their co-workers have spent the majority of their lives in agriculture and taking care of plants. Additionally, being able to partner with their wholesale company is a great resource to help me create my change. Without the plants, there is no Potted Pals, and there is no change. Without the people, this also holds true. This idea and change is one I’ve been pondering ever since our family has immersed itself in the plant industry. Without my network of go-to people who have been there to encourage me to take action, maybe I would have kept ruminating in my thoughts.
Secondly, the platform. Potted Pals, the solution to the problem we’re trying to solve, the “buying plants simplified”, does not exist without a platform where the plant-lovers can choose their plants for delivery. This is where and when I realized that I had made specific, overt modifications to my lifestyle within the past 6 months. My actions are observable (Prochaska, 1999, p.230). When starting to create the Potted Pals website, I got a taste of what Hultman was talking about when he detailed his views on resistance: “Resistance manifested itself behaviorally by active opposition to the change” (2003, p.1). I experienced resistance from individuals who wanted nothing to do with the project. Little did they know their resistance was going to serve as a motivating agent for me to go through with the idea.
I’ve painted a picture in my head multiple times of what the outcome would look and feel like (Bridges, 2016, p.75). It’s hard to wait when you’re passionate about an idea and can imaginatively see it. I’m positive that what I have learned will help me to persuade and empower people that can create changes alongside me similar to the one I have detailed. That being said, I think the most important leadership lesson that I have learned from readings is that in order to lead change in the world around you, you shouldn’t be afraid to take risks. Changes like the one I’m seeking to implement may seem low-risk, however, what experience has taught me is that no change is too small because change means growth. It’s important to work together and support people as they take on risks and experience new changes.
Co-Founder of Potted Pals
Bordas, J. (2012). Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Bridges, W., & Bridges, S. M. (2016). Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change (4th edition). Da Capo Lifelong Books.
Hultman, K. E. (2003). Managing Resistance to Change. Encyclopedia of Information Systems, 3, 693-705.
Prochaska, J. O. (1999). How do people change, and how can we change to help many more people? In M. A. Hubble, B. L. Duncan, & S. D. Miller (Eds.), The Heart and Soul of Change: What Works in Therapy (p. 227–255). American Psychological Association.
Wheatley, M., & Frieze, D. (2006). Using Emergence to Take Social Innovation to Scale. The Berkana Institute, 9.