Steve Perkins has always had a unique way of looking at the world.

While others focused on goals and directions, Perkins’ focus was centered on processes and operations. Though he had experience in nanotechnology, superconducting particle accelerators, and other advanced fields of engineering, the substance of what he was doing was always overshadowed by the human dynamics behind the subject matter.

“I was always searching for someone who could help me navigate these questions: What is my purpose? What is my calling? How can I spend the majority of my life at work doing things that are meaningful and will make a difference?”

Perkins actively sought out the answers to these questions. When he wasn’t immersed in his day job, he would spend his “spare time” researching the answers to his questions relating to his purpose in life.

“I knew I was entrepreneurial,” he says. “I practically bathed in leadership and productivity content, and I loved talking to people about life’s purpose.”

It was during Perkins’ tenure as a software engineering team lead with a Fortune 500 company that he reached his tipping point.

“I felt like I was only accessing about twenty percent of what I had to give,” he recalls. “It was time to settle these questions, and I started creating a process to figure it out for myself. It involved personality tests, reflecting on the clues from what I played as a kid, and talking to people who knew me and were willing to be honest.”

What emerged from this introspection was the development of a process designed to help individuals and businesses reach their highest potential. The Greenhouse Method is at the heart of the work performed by Perkins’ company, Greenhouse.

Greenhouse is a scalable consultancy working with both individuals and teams to maximize performance, engagement and positive collaboration. The way Perkins sees it, every person has a purpose, but, all too often, they are unsure how to reveal that purpose, and how it should ultimately connect with their strengths to be a driving factor in their work.

“Instead of waiting for your purpose to magically become clear one day, you can figure it out by being intentional and having a clear process--a good environment for growth,” he explains. 

Perkins likened the process to nurturing seeds. Having worked one summer at a greenhouse, he learned that growth can’t be forced, only nurtured.

“The potential for greatness and thriving is already in that seed, locked up,” he explains. “And never, for even a minute that summer, did we spend our time and effort trying to pull the potential out of the seeds. Instead, we just worked on the environment.

“Similarly, you can’t force people to do their best work. Instead, your effort should go into cultivating the right environment, and people will naturally thrive.”

This epiphany led to the creation of The Greenhouse Method, a 3-step proprietary process of personality assessment, executive-type coaching, and productivity tools. The steps of the Method are:

  • Make Space
  • Discover Purpose
  • Unearth Potential

As Perkins explains, “[The Greenhouse Method] is based in human-centered design and experience, revealing the trend that action brings clarity. So, it’s an ongoing cycle of discovery and application, based in healthy rhythms for success.”

The problem with most self-awareness and self-improvement programs, Perkins says, is that they focus on repairing weaknesses instead of bolstering strengths. The Greenhouse Method, he says, generates clarity about how a person or team is wired and, once that determination is made, then finding the best ways to nurture and support those strengths. Perkins calls this “a cycle of action and learning.”

Perkins has been hired by entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies to help them get better productivity and creativity out of their teams. The same human dynamic that leads individuals to become their best selves, also works on teams, he says.

Perkins was a speaker at this year’s Inc. 5000 Conference, where he shared his method with the leaders of America’s fastest-growing private businesses.

“As the research is showing more and more, successful companies have a clear purpose, and also help their people connect their personal purpose to that of the organization,” he says. “The process allows the team to build real trust and understanding of each other’s personalities and dreams.”

The results for many of Perkins’ individual and corporate clients have been dramatic. For Perkins, the work couldn’t possibly be more satisfying.

“I get to be an inventor every day, and apply it to why people do what they do,” he says. “And then help more people and organizations get unstuck, experience more meaning, and make the differences they were made to make.”

Watch below to see The Greenhouse Method in action.