“Maturity begins when one lives for others” – Hermann Hesse

user Andrew Blum

Reflections on my new role as Founder and Chairman of The Trium Group

I founded Trium in 1998 inspired by the idea that management consulting could be a force for awakening human potential. We believed that leadership would be more effective if we met business challenges by addressing the core issues of “mindset” in business. With that conviction, we set out to change the world by changing the way business leaders think. At that time, the dominant business ethos was, in many ways, primitive. People were simply focused on getting things done and making money, yet I knew from my own experience that many people, even senior executives, were unfulfilled and frustrated by the lack of “humanity” in their business lives. Most leaders were not focused on leading with heart and authenticity, nor were they creating the levels of clarity, connection, and trust with their teams required to ultimately drive sustained business performance.

Now, nearly 25 years later, I am very proud to say that we are accomplishing our mission and have served hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of leaders at the world’s most influential organizations. What has made this journey meaningful, sustainable, and interesting to me over the years, is simply this: In order to support others, I’ve had to grow myself. I’ve had to look at my own sharp edges and the places where my ego was either over- or under-sized.  To help others, you’ve got to do the work yourself – and this became a core premise of Trium.

As I’ve aged, I’ve become very conscious of this truth and also how this “work” plays out over stages of life. Carl Jung speaks to this process with a compelling framework that outlines four stages: Athlete, Warrior, Statesman, and Spirit. The Athlete stage is the first stage where we are mostly focused on our body and what it can do. Then we move to the Warrior stage where we are mostly focused on what we can get, achieve, and conquer. While the process is non-linear, many leaders that I’ve worked with are mired between those first two stages. Jung goes on to describe the third stage of life which is the Statesman where the focus is not simply on the self but more so on the community at large, however that is defined for each person. The final stage of life is the Spirit stage where matters of the world are less of a focus and matters of spirit become the focus. He also asserts that a life well lived – a conscious life – is, at some level, dependent on how one manages and embraces this journey.

Over this past year, I began to look at my own progression through these stages. I was certainly in the Athlete and Warrior stage as a Marine and when I founded Trium. I wanted to prove that I could do it, start a company, make a living, and provide for my family. Now, nearly 25 years later, I am beginning to see that my ongoing evolution requires something new. I have been an Athlete and a Warrior and now it’s time to become a Statesman and a Spirit-centric leader.

It was in this reflection that I realized that now is the time to stop leading Trium and start leading myself, my family, and the community at large. With that, I am stepping down, or better said, stepping out of my role as CEO and in to the role of Founder and Chairman. This is only possible because I’ve been fortunate enough to build an amazing team that can now carry the business forward. Darren Gold, who has been with Trium for six years as a Managing Partner, will be stepping out of his current role as a Managing Partner and in to the role of Trium’s CEO. It is clear to me that Darren’s own satisfaction and growth are dependent on him stepping out and becoming a central leader of the firm. The same is true of our other partners – as I elevate out, it creates more room for others to elevate too.

What does this all mean? I am not leaving Trium or dismissing business or retiring – whatever that even means – instead, I will increase my focus on executive coaching and mentoring my partners while continuing to live into our mission and doing the work that Trium set out to do, just with a different orientation. When people say to me, “Congratulations, you’re done”, I say, “No, I am just shifting my focus” to one that is more mature, less about me, and more about others. Now, I am focused, first and foremost, on my family who has gotten less attention than they and I would like. I also want to engage more directly and frequently in some of the not-for-profit work I’m involved in, whether that be my work inside Folsom prison as part of Inside Circle or other causes I’m passionate about. Mostly though, I will focus on being the best coach I can be to the leaders I serve – which, for me, is a fantastic vehicle for truly supporting others.

There is a motto that says “evolve or die” and while there may be truth in that, I think a better motto is “really mature to really live.”

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