Earlier this week I noticed a spider web in the supporting beams of the gazebo, with a medium-sized spider in the center of the web (in our house all spiders are "huge"). The web was tattered, hardly suitable for catching prey, with just a few strands holding it to the supports of the gazebo. What caught my eye was that this spider was under attack by another and different type of spider. As the spiders battled (I had never seen such an event), I noticed four other spiders along the perimeter of the web -- apparently other "soldiers" -- encircling the pair and ready to give support to the "attacker" if needed. To make matters worse, it was windy and the foes were swinging back and forth as they fought. It didn't look good for the single spider, and I admit I felt badly for it.
Turn of Events
When I went to the gazebo today I thought I'd find a web with five spider victors, happily occupying their new home. I was wrong. Instead, I found a beautifully formed web -- much bigger than before -- with three large bugs carefully wrapped and prepared for eating. And in the corner of the web was the single spider! No other spiders were within sight. It seems my friend didn't give up and persevered as the better fighter.
At the risk of getting too philosophical (we're talking about spiders after all), I can't help but draw parallels to business. Many times our companies, our departments, our teams, feel like they're in tatters and hardly suitable for bringing in revenue or carrying out its mission. Furthermore, we're often under attack by angry customers, quality issues, market downturns or rising costs. And to make matters worse, while we're dealing with one attack we suspect there are others just out of sight and waiting to occur. All the while, the winds of business continue with new projects, delivery promises, and financial obligations.
But, with commitment and perseverance we can overcome these attacks, repair our "house" (perhaps better than before), and earn the spoils we seek.
Life is full of lessons if we keep our eyes and minds open. And many times these lessons are in the unlikeliest of places, like a spider in a web.