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What's in the Logo?

The ocean-dwelling Nautilus is an excellent metaphor for "The Superb Organization" as it represents growth, evolution, adaptability, balance and long-term survival. I chose it for my company logo because these are all things that my clients, both companies and individuals, have made clear are important to them. Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), physician, writer, and Dean of the Harvard Medical School, was very impressed by the Nautilus, seeing it as a metaphor for human growth and behavior. He was so moved that he wrote a famous poem to it, wherein the Nautilus is, metaphorically speaking, on the sea of life. He had his bookplates engraved with a picture of it with the legend in Latin "per ampliora ad altiora" which translates "through breadth to depth". His son, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935), an eminent Supreme Court Justice for over 30 years and Harvard Law Professor, embodied the spirit of the Nautilus as he had learned it from his father by urging his fellow judges to be adaptable, accept change and look at the facts in a changing society. That wisdom applies equally well for today's organizations, leaders and managers.

Like the Nautilus, as a company or individual changes, they outgrow their current shell and must create a new one. As the Nautilus begins to outgrow its current chamber within the shell it builds a new one and moves into it, walling up the old one. It does this progressively, so that each new larger chamber is in perfect proportion to the whole and a perfect spiral is created. This perfect proportion is known as the golden ratio. The Nautilus then makes use of the empty chambers to provide buoyancy, reminding us of the utility of building on the past wisely. The Nautilus has astonishing ability to manage changes in temperature and pressure, routinely rising from 1500 feet or deeper in the ocean to 300 feet. Similarly, superb organizations and successful individuals must demonstrate impressive adaptability in today's demanding, high-pressure, rapid-change environment. The Nautilus has been around in some form for over 500 million years. That's staying power by anybody's measure!

Jules Verne was so struck by the intricacies and adaptability of the Nautilus, that he named his fictional exploratory submarine after it. Biologists say the spiral in the Nautilus is a pattern of inherent self-organization that is found throughout nature. Chaos theorists say that the spiral pattern shows us the life-giving boundary between order and chaos, the place where change and growth occur. Anthropologists say that the spiral symbolizes the pathway for a journey to the core of being. All of these concepts come into play as organizations and individuals evolve.

What's in the Name?

Why the name "Executive Evolution"? It encompasses the level of evolution to which "The Superb Organization" aspires, the executive roles within a company and the opportunity for individuals to evolve. Every individual is the executive in charge of his or her own life, personal and work, regardless of job title. Each company and person must determine what they value deeply, be clear who they are and what they want, discern how they can make a positive contribution, and take right action. I partner with companies and their people to support their growth and evolution.

Creating a Superb Organization has an impact far beyond the organization. Stable, successful, fulfilled companies are an important foundation for countries and societies. Our work impacts our total quality of life significantly, so its effects spread exponentially. Increasing both performance and fulfillment at work is a very powerful way to make a positive contribution to yourself, your company, and society as a whole.

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Marie J. Kane, President

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