Tim Seeton is a brilliant coach, facilitator and sage who is working globally with Danone. Groupe Danone‘s CEO Franck Riboud, for those of you who don’t know, is one of, if not the leading visionary CEO’s on the planet. He partnered with Muhammad Yunus on developing a nutritious yogurt and is a leading proponent of social business.
As Danone shares its vision for a better world, Tim takes them into a mindset he calls the Merlin Paradigm. Merlin lives in the future and looks back at the past. King Arthur lives in the past and looks forward to the future. It’s only from the future, looking back that you can see the connections that get you to the future.
Steve Jobs understood this.
“ You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever–because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”
- Steve Jobs, Stanford Graduation speech, June 2005
Years ago at KidsNRG when I was just starting the company, I drew three circles and wrote out a vision for where I wanted to be in 5 years. I didn’t write out a detailed plan but at the top line I knew where I wanted to go. The intention was set. From the future, I could look back and make choices as the model evolved to ensure we got where we wanted. We went from a start-up to a public company in 5 years. This may sound simple, and it is, but I can count on one hand the number of people I know who operate their lives in this manner.
I’ve noticed that when I don’t have a desired end state very clear in my mind I am less ‘successful’. After talking with Scott Thornley yesterday, who recounted the Tim Seeton Merlin Paradigm, I’m going to make sure that I consciously operate inside the Merlin Paradigm going forward.
And, for those of you who haven’t watched the BBC series Merlin, I’d highly recommend it.