When I first heard the story of the lobster and the growing pains and vulnerability it endures every time it molts its shell, I saw myself and the business pressures I faced daily. The image of a soft, fleshy animal working to build itself a larger shell while sitting on the ocean floor where any predator might gobble it up felt personal. I came to realize that the pains and anxieties I confronted trying to build my business were part of growth, and to be expected. Knowing that what you are dealing with is normal can make it easier to manage.
The lobster helped me understand that a business life cycle is cyclical, and we must prepare so we’re not caught off guard. I regularly reminded my team that “molts” are always coming, and we prepared by buying extra inventory, servicing a machine, thanking a vendor for a favor because we knew another might be needed, or just balancing the business in smarter ways.
While their shells are hard, lobsters manage their resources, conserve energy, and secure a place to hide in anticipation of their post-molt vulnerability. Lobsters can help us appreciate the times our organizations are strong, and use those “hard shell” moments to prepare by going out into the world and seeking new opportunities, investing in new technologies, and setting up systems for the future.
Remember the lobster. If you plan to grow, you must prepare for your next molt.