The story of Proteus and Menelaus

I’m often asked how I ended up going into an Agile / Business transformation career, the answer is pretty simple, I just sort of fell into it and quickly found out it was something I was pretty good at. The story of Proteus and Menelaus always appealed to me and to this day is still a story I like to tell at the start of a new Agile or Business transformation.

 

Returning home after the Trojan war Menelaus’s ship was becalmed on the isle of Pharos, after spending 20 days waiting for favorable winds a Nymph named Eidothea explains that only Proteus can help Menelaus get home and that only by capturing Proteus will Menelaus ever get favorable winds to return home. Eidothea explains the only way to capture Proteus is by surprise and helps Menelaus hatch a plan to capture Proteus after he falls asleep. She told him there is a certain cave where seals sleep that Proteus goes to at dawn. Menelaus and two chosen men were to go there and hide among the seals and grab Proteus by surprise. They were to hold on no matter what form he changed into. When he stopped changing, then Menelaus could ask him which god was angry with them, then they could sacrifice to that god. Menelaus and his men snuck into the cave before dawn and grabbed Proteus when he came to look over the seals. He changed into animals and trees and tried to frighten them, but they did not let go.

 

This story always struck me as extremely interesting as Menelaus had to push past constant change while keeping a single goal in mind. This has always been a powerful story in helping drive home the perseverance needed to successfully transform a business.  During the transformation you might has to go through several stages each trying to throw you off course but the critical part is to always keep your end goal in mind and try to hold on for the ride!

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