As an HR Director in the corporate space, it was common to interview a candidate who boasted ten years of experience. Often, within the first minute of the interview, it became clear that they had one year of experience ten times. They had stopped growing. They just kept trotting out common business axioms and tired cliches. They had turned the ‘old’ corner prematurely.
It’s not just individuals who stop living early in their lifespan. Relationships and teams stop growing all the time. Relationships and teams move through eternal cycles. They build foundations to support trust and connection. When all is working well, they leverage this platform to support exploration and discovery and then manage the change they create with resilience. Then, they do it again and again and again.
When a relationship or a team stops growing, it’s often because they got stuck and the labor of getting unstuck was too much. They were unable to navigate a disappointment. They couldn’t recalibrate to adapt to their new circumstances. They struggled to establish sufficient trust and psychological safety to enable collaboration. They were afraid of the consequences of change.
Growth causes stress and stress makes people resist growth. Staying the same feels better since it is a familiar pain. If the goal is comfort, the labor of getting unstuck will never be justified. If some discomfort is first acknowledged as an acceptable price for growth, however, the sky is the limit. The team is poised to age gracefully and maintain its vitality.
Embrace the concept of the ‘forever team.’ Relationships that keep moving through each obstacle, cycle after cycle, are eternal. Some people come and some people go. Business landscapes keep changing. But the teams that understand the purpose of each stage never grow old.