Those of you who have been reading my blogs, know that I often use nature or experiences as metaphors for business behaviors. I thought I would tell you a little about myself, so you understand the context for my musings. To start off, I’ve been a corporate gal for far too many years, but my roots were in public health and the non-profit world. I’m passionate about equity and social justice.
So perhaps like some of you, I get tired of reading all the professional academic business publications, with their charts, diagrams and process flows. I want to make it real by talking about feelings, impressions and stories that happen in our world outside of the workplace but have relevance at work.
This is where metaphors can make things simple. And let me tell you the workplace is ripe for analogies and metaphors, particularly from nature. Think about a few animal behaviors, and I’m sure you can notice a few similar ones at your place of work!
I also dabble in poetry, where metaphors reign as queen, and a concept can be conveyed in a few words. Think Haiku. But the beauty of nature is where I gravitate, because it's’ all there. Pecking orders, and survival… camouflage and diversity of behaviors… as well as beauty and nurturing.
We study animal and plant cycles of life and behavior, and if we are observant we can learn many lessons that apply in our professions. It’s a profound and deep source of ideas that may help us navigate our complex business world.
Of course I know I’m certainly not the first or last to teach through nature, or communicate a concept by relating a story. All great women and men have used parables and fables to convey values – both positive and negative. And you’ve probably picked up on my recurrent theme that you can’t count on analytics, metrics and data to do it all.
So here’s an exercise for you. Take a walk in the woods, or even in a park. Watch and observe the squirrels teasing dogs, children begging for another swing ride from Dad, bare trees waiting for the spring. Can you find an analogy that fits within the workplace? Send me one. I’d love to hear about what leadership lesson you have learned from quiet contemplation in our great outdoors.
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