Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

The Thing About Thriving

Human beings are wired for growth. We’re made to thrive.

I realize “thrive” is an in vogue word right now. Maybe a little hackneyed at this point.

It brings imagery of wild happiness, growth, and prosperity. There are websites and businesses who capitalize on the popularity of that word right now. Search the hashtag on Instagram. You’ll see an avalanche of images depicting young people lifting weights and getting into shape, along with the random 20-something in the wilderness.


The word gets thrown around in the leadership space quite a bit, as well.

And it’s good. As long as we understand definitions.

Thrive can mean flourishing, wild growth.

Thrive can also mean slow, steady progress.

As we evaluate people around us - I’m a bigger fan of measuring by the second metric than by the first, 

Everyone should be making forward progress. If they’re not, it’s the leader’s job to observe, assess, and coach. Sometimes there are edges to smooth and strengths to shore up. We encourage them to do this until they are making forward progress. Slow, steady progress. Thriving. All on their own.

If slow and steady progress is impossible to achieve, exemplory leaders assist to find another position.

Keeping a person in a place where they don’t grow and assuming they’re defective is unjust and unkind. It’s like withholding sunlight from a plant and returning it to the nursery as defective.

Every plant thrives when placed in the right environment.

The same is true for people.