Last week I met with a group of business owners in Houston, TX. It is an impressive group of sharp, committed, leaders who meet monthly for the purpose of professional development. They are clearly intent on the profitable growth of their enterprises. The average age of the companies is 11.2 years, although three of the 13 businesses represented are more than 20 years old. Certainly, these firms have experienced the kind of longevity that brings with it lessons in leadership as well as occasions to display resilience because no day goes exactly as planned. There are achievements and there are setbacks; there are spontaneous, unanticipated events and there are grand surprises!
We discussed these occurrences within the context of what we referred to as the Progress Cha Cha.
Like the popular Afro-Cuban dance, the Progress Cha Cha, seems to have unique timing, rhythm and movement as its central elements. How many times have you heard it said, “I can’t seem to get anywhere; as soon as I take two steps forward, I take one step back.”?
This was part of the Houston conversation last week. And although I am by no means a renowned dancer, for the sake of example I demonstrated what it physically looked like to take two steps forward and one step back. Then I repeated it again and again and again; each time gaining confirmation that this was what they felt their experiences had been.
The demonstration sped up, seemed to appear as though it were a dance step. Just for fun you should try it. Go to one end of the room and work your way to the other end, by sequentially taking two steps forward and one step back over and over until you reach the farthermost wall.
You will note what we observed as well, that in spite of the appearance of failure (regressive steps), or conversation of setbacks, it is the reality of achievement that there be forward as well as backward movement. Together they form progress.
To label backward movement as failure is as unnecessary as it is to label forward movement, achievement. Such labeling is indicative of a lack of understanding. Movement is movement. Both directions are essential to completion. Both serve needed purposes and teach lessons. Together they are transitive, in that each of the two directional steps in the place of the other, change positions to take us somewhere else. Not where we are currently. Not where we have been, but leading us to where we are going next. This alternating position has the potential to provide new insights and opportunities. That said it appears that attainment of any objective is rhythmic with recurring intervals or patterns of built in periods of movement, direction and rest. It only stops when the object in motion (that would be you), ceases all effort; until that time there is constant, sometimes almost imperceptible movement. It is like that in everything; sports, business, science…
Expect that you are in that same flow; following the natural rhythm to achievement, the Progress Cha Cha, if you will. Do not think that there is a special movement for you but you are part and parcel of the One Movement that is continually at work indiscriminately for us all.