All I Need to Know about Business I Learned from a Duck

Archive for December, 2010

All I Want For Christmas Is To Have Legs Like A Reindeer

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Currently the Midwest is severely cold. In a word I feel like I’m freezing. And despite the fact that I have lived here all my life, I’m not adjusting to it very well. Oh, how I wish I was as adaptive as a Reindeer. Did you know they can lower the temperature in their legs to just above freezing to avoid loss of body heat? To catch a glimpse of what wild Reindeer endure in a typical day, check out the short video, below:

Adapting to their harsh, barren habitat is how Reindeer have not only survived but thrived over the years. Want to know another adjustment they’ve made? Rather than gathering around the water cooler complaining about blizzard conditions, Reindeer designed a special tendon in their feet that snaps against bone so during white-outs even if they cannot see the herd, they’ll know where their buddies are by simply listening for the sound of “clicks”.

Adaptability is an important characteristic in reaching success in business, as well. I’ve found that the world of business is full of surprises and unforeseen events and being willing to change course and make choices that pushed me beyond my comfort zone became an important leadership skill that I relied on frequently.

But here’s the conundrum – many leaders who are not flexible or adaptive aren’t aware of their limitation. Even worse, because they have a slanted view of reality some might consider themselves to be adapting to change when their behavior and decisions clearly demonstrates that they are fixed in their old plans and perspective.

So if you suspect that you are going down the same old path at a time when you should be exploring new territory, simply ask the following questions of your colleagues and reports and then listen for the “clicks”: Do you think I am adaptable? Do you think I’m easily able to cope with changing circumstances? In your opinion do you feel that I can easily modify plans due to unforeseen circumstances … and that I am not easily upset by changes in plans?