Proteus is helping us make sure the US track and field team achieves its fullest potential in 2012 and beyond. Benita Fitzgerald Moseley, Chief of Sport Performance, USATF

Jan
30

If Something Happens All the Time, It Can Still Be a Miracle

I’ve realized lately that there’s something I love no matter what form it takes: growth. The process of something changing its form to become more complete, more mature, more fully established and able to fulfill its innate purpose – wonderful.

SAM_0407It’s marvelous to observe in nature; it’s why I enjoy gardening so much. Think about it: a tomato seed is tiny, almost transparent, fragile-looking.  (If you’ve never seen a tomato seed, here’s a comparison: a tomato seed is about the size and shape of this capital O.) And that tiny object, when put in the ground and watered, first breaks through the ground as a little green seedling. And then over the next few months – a remarkably short period of time – it grows as tall and wide as an adult person, yields dozens and dozens of tomatoes, each of which is hundreds of times larger than the original seed.

Miraculous.

And I’ve understood that growth – any kind of growth –  requires two things: a framework for expansion and a compulsion to evolve.  In nature, DNA provides that framework.  The tomato seed contains all the instructions needed for the fully mature plant, as the human egg and sperm do for the adult human being.

The compulsion to evolve is the thing that fascinates me.  I see it in all life: it shows up in animals as the urge to survive and reproduce; in plants as breaking through the ground, turning toward the light. It shows up in human beings as curiosity, competition, the will to create a better life for one’s children.

Earlier this week I had the chance to spend a couple of days with a very senior team in a large client company of ours.  I’ve been coaching the leader of this team for the past five or six years. My intention – as is always the case when I coach – has been to offer him good frameworks for growth, and help him get in touch with his own compulsion to evolve. It’s been a joy to observe his growth, as a person and as professional, over these years.

But this time I saw his team evolving, as well, and it was so exciting to me.  Over the past five years, I’ve worked with this team on 3 different occasions. This time, I saw framework + compulsion.  By framework, I mean that they’re finally set up properly: they have the right people in the right roles, they’re clearer than ever on what they’re trying to do and how they’ll do it. We did some work in this session that helped clarify those framing supports even more.

The new thing though, and the most wonderful to see: the awakening of the compulsion to evolve. In previous iterations, there were people on the team who weren’tat all sure they wanted to grow as a team.  This time, every single person in the room genuinely wanted to evolve into a high-performance team that will get great results and have fun doing it.

And to me, that’s as amazing as the tiny seed becoming a gigantic fruitful plant.  That a group of people would come together and make a conscious decision to pool their passion, their experience and their trust in order to evolve into a new thing; a team.

A business miracle.



About Erika Andersen

erika Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are custom tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture.
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