The Evolution of Greatness

January 4, 2016

By: Robert E. Quinn

Original post: Bob Quinn’s Blog

I have a precious friend. He is a man of very deep understanding. Everywhere he goes he brings out the best in people. He does this by deeply listening to others while simultaneously holding them accountable to their own most central values. As he lovingly confronts people, he turns them authentic and they come to love him. Where he goes, life flourishes. I have often watched this man turn organizations positive.

Where does such greatness originate? When he was a tiny boy, he and his brother were ripped from their mother and placed in a Nazi prison. There he endured horrors few small boys ever encounter. He read something I had written about listening. He sent me a paragraph that I think reads like a profound poem.

The paragraph follows and it raises an important question. From where does greatness originate and what are the implications for life?

“I deeply resonate with the value of the gift of listening to others. I recall experiencing this form of love and caring from a fellow inmate during the darkest days of my then young life. ​Feeling abandoned, alone, scared, without hope or trust, the old man, feeling my hunger to express my feelings, asked me to tell him what was weighing on my soul. Though the situation did not change, my feelings of being alone were replaced by a feeling of having a friend. The next morning, when I went back to where he lay, he had passed away, his empty eyes staring at the ceiling. Alone again!”


Who have I known who had the ability to elevate everyone?

How do such talents evolve and I how could I obtain them?

How could we use this passage to turn our organization positive?