Strategic Transformation and Change Management have become the buzzwords of the last decade. What does it really mean to strategically transform? Aventine likens strategic transformation to that of the butterfly. Butterflies undergo one of the most fascinating metamorphosis in the natural world. Metamorphosis, meaning beyond form: meta from the Greek word for beyond, and morphos for form. We all know that butterflies start off as caterpillars, but we rarely pay attention to the simple caterpillar, if we did we would see that caterpillars are hardworking and hungry. They spend most of their lives crunching through the ecosystem, eating as much as a hundred times their weight in a day. They grow and grow and keep shedding their skin until finally they are too bloated to move, at that point they find a branch, they hang themselves upside down and they shed their last skin, which hardens into a chrysalis.
Now inside the chrysalis, deep in the caterpillar’s body, tiny things biologists call ‘imaginal disks’ begin to form. At first the caterpillar resists and attacks the imaginal disks which it sees as ’foreign’ intruders. But the disks keep coming faster and faster, finally linking up with each other and eventually the caterpillar’s immune system fails from the stress and the disks become imaginal cells. The chrysalis becomes filled with a soupy meltdown of the caterpillar, but in this meltdown the genome for the butterfly already exists in the imaginal cells. The caterpillar was carrying the genome all along, its immune system attacked the imaginal disks because it didn’t recognize the second genome. It’s the caterpillar’s job to resist the butterfly, just as it is the butterfly’s job to become stronger because of the opposition to its advance. So we see that the caterpillar always had the potential to be a butterfly but it required a transformative process to free it. (Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D., evolution biologist, lecturer and author of EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution)
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. proverb.