Commitment to Excellence: Learning Lessons from Mexican Jumping Beans

Have you ever seen Mexican Jumping Beans? They were a phenomenon I had only heard of until last week when a family member brought home a small box of them from a recent vacation. What surprised me the most? Well, the fact that these little beans really jump! I was instantly fascinated and decided to read up about Mexican Jumping Beans online. I learned that most Mexican Jumping Beans are small, tan and brown seed capsules, which look like beans, that grow on shrubs in Mexico and Baja, California. These seed capsules contain larvae of a small moth species that normally force itself out of the seed capsules in springtime, but can live in the seed capsule for many years. While Mexican Jumping Beans don’t necessarily jump, they roll and make a popping or clicking sound. While this rolling and clicking is the entertaining part of this little toy, it is sobering to learn that it is actually a sign of the larva trying to survive. When the larva heats up from increased temperature or ultraviolet rays, it throws itself against the wall of the capsule to displace the heat and stay cool to keep from its demise.

After observing this interesting part of nature, I realized there were lessons to be learned from the little larvae. When things heat up in the workplace, whether from challenges and obstacles that arise from responsibilities and tasks, or external forces like increased competition, we, like the larvae, must react quickly or perish. Today, businesses and individual contributors face an especially formidable external force, a significant downturn in the economy. Most companies and employees are finding themselves in a “survival of the fittest” state. As businesses tighten expenditures and face this struggling marketplace, complacent employees who simply meet expectations and performance goals will not survive. Rather, those, like the larvae, who throw themselves into their work and commit to excellence will thrive despite the difficult times.

So, I would like to ask this question. Are you prepared and willing to be like the larvae? Committing to excellence is a multi-dimensional concept. While there could be many different steps or approaches to bring individual and organizational performance from mediocrity to superior, I have identified seven:

1. Think strategically and consider the future.
2. Pull together and unite as a team with co-workers.
3. Approach challenges and obstacles with assertiveness and force.
4. Use good judgment and collaborative decision making skills.
5. Increase efficiency and eliminate waste and redundancy.
6. Challenge the status quo and employ creativity and innovation.
7. Keep a positive mind-set and good attitude.

Implementing these techniques and developing these skills will help to ensure continued success and the chance to compete despite challenges and obstacles. If you find yourself wondering where to start, browse through our books or other blog posts. You will find helpful resources on strategic thinking, teamwork, and other business topics. If you need training and development solutions or outside help, we would enjoy disccussing a “committment to excellence” in more detail.

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About the Author

Cherissa Newton