Monday, June 30, 2008

Leaders - You Can’t Send a Duck to Eagle School

I saw this headline on the Simple Truths website. Simple Truths was started by Mac Anderson after he sold off Successories and is filled with motivational and inspiration material. The basic message is that there are certain character attributes that are essential and if you want a company led by eagles you can’t expect to make them out of ducks. They are just too different.

That made me think more about eagles, which are my favorite from the animal world and the differences compared to ducks.

This is eagle school. Duck school is down on the lake.

Lesson 1: Eagles are Majestic with Character all their own
The eagle is the most majestic of all birds and not solely for its size and spirit. An eagle is around 3 feet tall and reaches over 6 ½ feet between the wings. A large bird! The eagle has come to symbolize the majesty of the air. The eagle takes the high ground if you will. A person's true character is revealed by what he does when no one is watching. The eagle is most often out of sight and out in the wild, the eagle is a very clean bird. Is this “eagle integrity”? Now on the other hand if you have seen ducks around lakes you know that they are not so clean.

Lesson 2: Eagles Are Made For the High Places
Unlike other birds like ducks that fly in the lowlands, eagles are made to fly in the high places, out of sight of the naked human eye and out of range of the hunter's rifle. Executives are meant to fly in high places and lead their company. The “high place” enables the leader to have the vision and the clarity to lead the company along the right path successful. Eagle-like executives are required to lead companies.

Lesson 3: Eagles Do Not Fly, They Soar
Eagles do not fly like other birds, flapping their wings profusely and using their own strength. Instead, eagles SOAR majestically, making use of the wind currents to gain height. What makes the eagle so special is that she sits on the rock and reads the wind and when the time is perfect she takes off and soars upward with her great wings. How will you know when the updraft is coming? How will you know how to avoid the hurricane or at least survive it? You need the right plan and then be able to capitalize on the right time to move. You will move with far more success and you can soar. Ducks fly but don’t soar.

Lesson 4: Eagles Go Through Specific Periods of Renewal
When they are about 60 years old, eagles go through a period of renewal. An eagle would find a secret place up in the mountains. It would start to claw at its face and tear out the feathers that have been damaged over the years. Through this, the eagle renews its strength by getting rid of the unnecessary things otherwise it would not be able to live till 120 years that it normally does. Business executives have business plans that need periodic renewal. Certainly not every 60 years. More like a quarterly refresher and then an annual in-depth review. Be like the eagles and do the plan renewals.

Lesson 5: Eagles Get Sick, Just Like Humans
When an eagle gets sick, it does not go to the doctor. It simply finds a favorite spot in the mountains and awaits the rays of the sun to heal it. The sun plays a major role in the life of an eagle and as such, is a major source of healing too. What is your “sun”? Is it a business coach, guide or mentor? Is it some motivational or inspirational element that has proven successful for you before? Keep these handy and use them often. They may not only help cure the sickness, they may prevent it.

Lesson 6: Even Eagles Need a Push Sometimes
High in the mountains, a baby eagle is born. One day, mama eagle takes one of her babies in her mouth and starts soaring into the skies. Suddenly, she drops the baby eaglet who starts to struggle. Just before the eaglet smashes against the rocks, mama eagle would sweep down and pick it up. This goes on for about five to eight times. Every time it is being dropped from the sky, the eaglet would struggle by flapping its wings. Mama is teaching her young to fly. Everyone needs some help sometimes. It may be a new idea, some coaching or just some reinforcement from a valued confidant.

So if you want to have eagles in your company, start with eagles not ducks.


John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management

View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

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