Leadership and Mythology #7: Zeus, Greed and Change

by Gary Monti on June 22, 2010

Being greedy can lead to disastrous results. Nurturing your network and cultivating abundance is critical for sustained success and peace of mind. Greed and its consequences show up in Greek mythology. The lessons are quite relevant today especially in a complex, chaotic business world. It can be seen in the battle to be the central hub and monopolize an economy. (Think “Google vs Microsoft”.) But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s begin with a story, a rather grizzly one.

Trying to Have It All

The Titan Kronos wanted to have it all. So, he shamed his own father, the god Ouranos (the Heavens), by castrating him. Kronos then took possession of everything. Before committing the act he was warned his yet-to-be born son would depose him.

After gaining control and as time went by he became increasingly preoccupied with what was foretold. So, in greed and fear he swallowed every one of his offspring…or so he thought. His wife, Rheia, tricked him when the sixth child, Zeus, was born. She substituted a stone (see, greed is blind!).

Up-ending the Status Quo

Zeus was raised in secret. When old enough he ambushed his father, Kronos. Zeus kicked him in the stomach so hard all of Zeus’s siblings were vomited up: Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon.

Releasing the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Looking closer at Zeus’s siblings reveals a lot regarding what is set free when change is embraced. Demeter was the goddess of bountiful harvests. Hestia was the goddess of domestic joy. Hera was the goddess of love, marriage and nurturing. So far, so good.

Things get a little dicier with Hades. Hades was the god of the Underworld, the place for both riches (gold, etc.) and death. Hmmm. Finally, there is Poseidon, god of the sea (source of food), earthquakes (disasters), and horses (the ability to move and connect).

Because of such a bold act Zeus was made god of the immortals. While he did set positive forces free he was not the friendliest god on Mount Olympus – tossing lighting bolts at those who offended him.

Myth and Business

If you look around your own personal pantheon you probably can identify the gods mentioned. It is important to understand them and their powers when seeking to bring about change.  Keeping your eyes open and practicing anticipatory awareness (see Anticipation blog in the Leadership Cancer series) will help you see in a neutral manner the forces at plan in your business universe.

This is worth repeating. When working with change anticipatory awareness is extremely important. People just are as they are. By accepting and watching them you can decide what risks are worth taking.  It has the benefit of maximizing growth should you succeed and keeping your self-esteem and personal integrity intact should you fall down. Over time there will be more of the former and less of the latter.

If you get indigestion swallowing stones or are having a hard time dodging lightning bolts or want to share a personal triumph send me an e-mail at gwmonti@mac.com or visit www.ctrchg.com.

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