Professional Growth How Has Yours Evolved blog, Gene Moran, and lobster.

Professional Growth: How Has Yours Evolved?

How has your professional growth evolved?

I recently completed a short family trip to the Florida Keys for Florida’s lobster mini-season. It’s a 2-day period before the lobster fishery is opened to commercial fishermen. With specific limits in place for daily catch per person, the Florida lobster population is well managed. For recreational boaters and divers, it’s a fun experience where the odds are in your favor to catch some great-tasting lobster despite their clever defense mechanisms. Florida lobsters are sometimes called bugs, and the recreational lobster mini-season is known as a bug hunt.

Florida vs. Maine Lobsters


The US Coast Guard, Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife, and local law enforcement work together to oversee the safety and compliance of the adventurous and ambitious recreational divers. Each agency has specific authorities for both marine safety and compliance oversight. All work seamlessly to set the proper stage of respect for the mini-season. Lobsters must be of a specific maturity, and the main body must measure three inches. Agency officials sometimes spot check boats while on the reef and while returning to port to quickly affirm the lobster count does not exceed the allotment per person, per boat, and that the catch is all within the three-inch size limit.

Before all those Mainers in the readership chime in and say, it’s not lobster if it doesn’t have claws, ok. We get it. There is nothing like a cold-water lobster found along the Maine coast. However, Florida has much warmer water (currently about 85 degrees Fahrenheit). And the lobster in Florida are actually Spiny Lobster with no claws. They taste great, although somewhat different than Maine lobster.

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The Florida lobsters tend to hang out under rock ledges with their antennae barely visible as they watch their world go by. You can’t just reach out and grab them as they will push back under the ledge. Their antennae are sharp with barbs, and lobsters are not afraid to move them abruptly in self-defense. Lobsters are caught by being “tickled” out from under the ledge with a “tickle stick” to an awaiting hand-held net. Now, the lobsters know that something isn’t right, and they are very quick to evade. The efficient lobster diver knows to position the net just out of the lobster’s sight, but in its most likely path when tickled out.

Professional Growth: The Lobster Principle


Lobsters swim moving backward by violently snapping their tail. The swift motion makes for their very quick movement through the water. If the net is not positioned well, that lobster is likely gone. Human reflexes are no match once the lobster swims.

I was reminded of some stories I’ve learned of lobsters as it relates to my own professional growth. Lobsters outgrow their hard exoskeleton (shell) and must actually break out of it to allow their body to continue to grow. While molting from one shell to the next, the lobster is somewhat vulnerable without the hard shell’s protection. Consultant Alan Weiss teaches that “the lobster principle” requires us all to endure the vulnerability of coming out of a shell in order to grow. Do you allow for this in your own growth or the growth of those around you?

Professional Growth: 2 Admirals Known by the Name Lobster


While on active duty, two admirals were known by the name Lobster, but for very different reasons. One, a gregarious and somewhat fair-skinned aviator, was given the call sign “Lobster” as his sunburned face often had the look of a boiled Maine lobster. This was a charitable nickname offered in good fun. He carries it to this day, although now retired for many years.

The other admiral was known behind his back as a lobster for his tendency to readily back away from problems or bad news…just as the lobster swims backwards to escape. I’m not proud that I found this moniker funny, but at the time the evidence suggested it was quite appropriate to the individual. Ask most aviators about the origins of their call signs, and there is typically a good story that readily captures the essence of the person or the incident that prompted the designation. Are there people in your work orbit who shun responsibility or accountability? Do others around them know this to be the case (yet, it persists in the workplace)?

Million Dollar Influence: How to Drive Powerful Decisions through Language, Leverage, and Leadership


In my forthcoming book, co-written with Alan Weiss, Million Dollar Influence: How to Drive Powerful Decisions Through Language, Leverage, and Leadership, we explore concepts like accountability, authority, responsibility, and apply them to the business of influencing great outcomes. I’m excited to share it with you in the coming months. The official release date is November 8th, and presales will begin just after Labor Day.

I hope your summer is going as well as mine! I enjoy both Florida lobster and Maine lobster, but you won’t catch me diving off the coast of Maine. Ever. I might not survive that cold!

The Make Your Move podcast is a multi-season series devoted to the lessons learned of military members in their post-active duty lives. I hope you enjoy the stories of the men and women brave enough to share their transition stories so publicly. Listen to the latest episode here.

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