How We Grow

wave-10-transPERFORM  UNFORM TRANSFORM REFORM PERFORM

The Wave Has Four Phases

All living systems travel the four phases of the Growth Wave over and over. Success, and often survival, depend on understanding and aligning with each phase…

Unforming forces us to release patterns that have been familiar and successful. Denial, anger and fear overwhelm us as the Wave plunges into apparent chaos. Here our accumulated Experience and Intelligence help us face and cope with new Realities.

Transforming must change our fear of danger into the excitement of opportunity. As we go into the emptiness of the void, our Intuition and Dreams help us see new Purpose so we can release old identities and open to the new.

Reforming creates the new patterns that will allow us to survive and prosper in the changed environment. This phase is exciting and turbulent as our Interactions build the Abilities and Relationships that will make us successful in the new reality.

Performing is where we enjoy the benefits of our new patterns. Empowered by new dreams and capabilities, it is now Perseverance and Innovation that sustain through all obstacles and into the bountiful harvest of our Achievements and their Rewards.

It’s the Wave’s Wholeness that Matters…

Long-term success is a function of traveling the whole Growth Wave, so we must not let our eagerness for results or our avoidance of pain rush us through any phase. And, paradoxically, we must not let our fascination with any one phase pervert the next. Realities must not be allowed to limit Vision. Vision must not overwhelm the need for Systems. Systems must not interfere with Results. And our need for Results must not lead us to distort the Realities that are the foundation for the next Wave…

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Places You Could Go Next…

STORY:The Growth Wave” is both organizationally and personally oriented, so its stories offer leadership wisdom to managers, parents or individuals…

VIDEO: In 1988 FW conducted a seminar for the Chicago’s Public Defenders’ Office. This was organized by a former student to help the legal staff cope with unsettling changes brought about by new leadership. ‘The Growth Wave’ was derived from George Land’s ‘Growth Curve.’ It applies to all living systems – cell, tissue, person, relationship, organization or civilization – understanding it makes life much clearer. Dear friend Chuck Olin of ‘The Film Group’ did a superb job of capturing this event. Click here to watch (21 min).

ACTIVITY: “Sharing Our Waves” is a simple way to see The Growth Waves of our own lives, and works best with 2-5 people.

Recall a few times in your life when things seemed to fall apart. These “Unformings” can be triggered by external events like relationships ending, loss of position or moving to a strange world. They can also be caused when you grow but your world does not, and you feel stifled, stuck and stagnant.

Pick one of these times you’re willing to share and tell its story as though you are reliving it right now. A little drama and many details make your experience come alive for you and your listeners, and a sense of humor brings perspective.

When did you stop resisting the Unforming and accept its realities? The answer might be, “Not yet!”

How did you experience the Transforming? As lightning flash? An incremental series of glimpses? Or…

How long did the Reforming take? Creating a new identity often takes time, work and resources…

What satisfactions did your new Performing bring?
Were they more external or internal?

Ask your listeners what they saw in your story; often this brings you the “Aha!” of new insight that makes riding your future waves much more enjoyable…

THEORY: My earliest glimmer of a defined process of “transformative growth” came in 1974 when fate put this article in my hands…

Clare W. Graves

The General Systems Group, a part of The Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) in the 70’s and 80’s spurred my learning and understanding more than I can say. Here are a few of the people and resources that “made all the difference”…

George Land

Derald Langham

Gus Jaccaci

Rendell Leathem & Sidney Smith were irreplaceable mentors as well, and Betty Cox has my undying gratitude for her iron-fisted facilitation of the General Systems group; her will created order out of chaos.

These good people and their works, along with Jung, Maslow, the I Ching and so many others, gave me the inspiration, foundation and building blocks that created The Growth Wave. How fortunate I have been to have so many shoulders to stand on…