Friday, January 7, 2011

What little birds and sheep are telling us

The number of mass animal deaths in the last several days is a not just a little unsettling. Thousands of birds in America and Italy, millions of fish in Brazil, America and New Zealand – it makes one think.

In 2005 1500 sheep leapt to their deaths off a cliff in Turkey. There was no good reason ever provided, but the prevailing hypothesis put forward was a combination of panic backed up with momentum. Perhaps if we’d paid more attention we could have gleaned some important lessons. After all we were heading for our own economic cliff of 2008. (But we’re not sheep right?)

It’s interesting to note that while 1500 sheep took the dive, only 450 died simply because the later jumpers found a softer landing. So here we are, in 2011, picking ourselves up from the big fall of 2008, shaking ourselves off and looking around. We can see the detritus and destruction all around, and know but for the grace of God we too could be among the unrecoverable.

So while the economy seems to show some signs of life, let us not just jump back into the herd and start the next stampede. Let’s reflect on what got us here – a single minded focus on money and profits. Maybe it’s time to rethink our business paradigm.

Someone wise said leadership is not getting in front of the herd and leading the pack over the precipice, but instead having the guts and the vision to move in a new direction. We’re at that place.

The sheep, the birds, the fish – they’re telling us something, and it begs the question of each of us – will you learn from the hard lessons of 2008, or will you run with the pack and lead this whole planet over the edge of a precipice no one will recover from?

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