Of Puzzles

My family likes to put together puzzles, the 1,000 piece variety. This was a gift passed on to our family by my Mother. Even today, at 81 she always has a puzzle going in her living room. It represents a family meeting place to share news, events, information and family business; all the while looking for the piece with the odd shape and the pink on the border. My family recently completed a puzzle that has been on progress for several months. Naturally, with two kids – who gets the last piece is a matter of honor. As we were completing the puzzle, I was watching my kids polish off the puzzle and was reflecting on the process of completing one. It is very much like the MBA experience.
You open the box, dump all the pieces on a table and they are scattered everywhere. What seemed like a good idea in one moment now looks like a complete mess and an impossible task. But, you dumped out the box and you might as well give it a go. So, slowly you start a process. We begin by spreading out the pieces and separating the edge pieces. In a little while the frame begins to take shape. Usually, the frame is complete except for that one missing piece. So we increase the intensity of our search and hover over the table like a spy satellite, until it is found. Having a framework makes a huge emotional impact as we embark on filling in the 880 other pieces. The trained eye looks over the remaining scattered pieces and tries to find shapes and patterns that seem to go together. Perhaps a face, or a tree or a building comes together and we make steady progress. Throughout the process we gain momentum then lose it. One of us works on the sky while another pieces together the lake and still another works on the trees. We call out our frustration for the piece that was somehow left out of the box and the team unites to restore the sanity of the frustrated searcher. Barbs are traded along with stories and many, many laughs.
After a lengthy process a beautiful seaside landscape is completed, 1,000 pieces at a time. A grand achievement, leading to a beautiful outcome for sure, but not the most important part of the process. We build camaraderie, teamwork and trust over each piece. Just like out MBA team. Come build your career puzzle and see business differently at Loyola – National Lacrosse Champs to boot!

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