The Butterfly Effect
- I have been writing about this particular topic for a while now. While I know it has an actual meaning attached to non-linear phenomenon that occurs in weather patterns, I have embraced it and adopted it to our particular field of study and human interaction. Many of us have experienced different events in our lives that have altered our path or changed the course of our destiny. Yes, I know
that the Butterfly Effect is not the same as the Domino Effect but sometimes these two effects overlap and it becomes difficult to draw a line between them. I hope you will bear with me (Animal) as I take liberty with my analogies and please, take them for what they are worth.
I typically tell stories of consequence. I like telling these stories, and it would seem that that my numerous sources enjoy telling them to me. I recently contacted one of my mentors, Dr. Hal Simeroth
, regarding a paper I was writing about Everyday Leaders. Hal is just that, he is an everyday leader
that has made a tremendous impact on my life and the lives of so many others. I met him a little over tow years ago when he interviewed me for a Manager of Recruitment position with a technology start-up company. I sat across a desk from him as he told me a bit about himself and then proceeded to put me at ease with his gentle but analytical approach to questioning. Hal was the Vice President of Engineering and he was one of the four VPs I would be interviewing with (individually) before I sat down with the CEO of Select University Technologies, Inc. I don't think I even knew that I should have been nervous as I wasn't.
That company, SUTI, has since gone belly-up, much to our dismay..., we thought we would retire from there, along with many others. But we have remained friends and we speak or meet for lunch often. At the end of my recent conversation with Hal, I asked if he wouldn't mind indulging me a bit and allow me to ask him another
question for Bonus Track. He was glad to oblige me and said, "Fire away." Dr. Simeroth has a Bachelor's in Engineering, a Master's in Religion and a Doctorate in Ethics. He is not your typical engineer, so I thought his Butterfly Effect answer might have a different spin. And it did. He didn't even hesitate when he plunged into a very short but effective story...
Hal went to work for a quickly expanding PC company out of Los Gatos, California, in the 1980's. They were experiencing exponential growth; the executives & CEO involved were living the high life. On the day they announced the company had gone public, shares were grabbed up and it was a huge coup. A party was held in Silicon Valley, the likes that none of them had ever seen. A very elaborate shindig with booze and drugs readily available and many were partaking. The CEO took off from the party, along with a friend, for a joy ride in his Ferrari - he was flying high on cocaine and thrilled that his own personal holdings were now worth $6M. Unfortunately, the same day he became a very wealthy man was the same day his life ended. He drove his Ferrari off a cliff. His passenger miraculously survived but the CEO left his wife, children, and a brand new incredibly
successful company behind.
Hal was the VP of Engineering with this company and this incident changed his life and his perspective. The company, somehow, managed to thrive following this tragic incident but the leaders were impacted and their paths were altered. One moment everything is perfect and wonderful..., the next, their leader was gone and they had to re-group, and they did
, but not without a significant amount of pain and challenge. "We learned the hard way." Embrace today, don't be flip with achievements, remember that others are affected by your actions, and know that success is never guaranteed.
Take advantage of the tales others tell, learn from their trials and pain.
What will you learn today?