Leader driven Harmony #9: Don’t Be a Baby Bird (Part I)

by Mack McKinney on January 28, 2011

Have you ever watched birds feed their babies in the nest?  As the parent bird swoops in, the baby birds open their beaks and the parent plops a juicy worm or insect right into junior’s gaping mouth.  The baby just sits and eats.  The parent does all the work.

I recently met some people like that:  They were college students headed for careers in medicine.  I subscribe to Science News and there were some medically-oriented articles in the current issue (new theories for brain repair, a new blood component that physicians were concerned about, etc.).  I handed the magazine to one of these young folks and said “look at this”.  I expected a reaction such as “THAT is interesting” or “Wow, how can that be?” or at least “I’ll read that later”.  But instead I got an expressionless gaze and no response at all, followed by the magazine being laid onto an adjacent table.  I asked if the articles were of interest and got a “yea, I guess” answer.  I hope my expression didn’t give me away but I was horrified: A future physician was unmoved by medical news articles that could change the profession forever.  But then I thought back and realized that this has been a common expression from this person whenever I have offered similar magazines or books: Ho hum, I might read that some other time.  But then they don’t.  Not ever.

Bizarre!

Now here is why that seems so bizarre to me:  I am an aviator.  I have been flying since 1983.  I enjoy reading, talking and thinking about all things related to aviation.  Some things interest me more than others but I at least scan EVERYTHING that crosses my path that deals with aviation: civilian, military, airplanes, pilots, radios, radars, airfoils, airspace, weather, legislation, etc.  – – – Everything – – – .  In my bedroom there are seven books partially read (five of them about flying) and about 20 magazines beside the bed (I have flagged articles that I want to copy, things I want to act on, people I want to contact about something, etc.)  I also contribute articles to flying magazines and have several in various stages of completion.  I belong to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Experimental Aircraft Association.

I also fly young people (for free) in introductory flights every chance I get, including at fly-days sponsored by the Young Eagles organization. I also fly and maintain our corporate airplane including oil changes, engine tune-ups, minor repairs, refueling, etc.  So there are aircraft maintenance magazines everywhere in our house and in Solid Thinking’s offices and the hangar.  And we live in a residential airpark and I serve on our property owners association’s Board of Directors, so there are government regulations and county runway easement proposals laying on chairs and tables throughout the house this week.  And I am working on my next rating so there are instrument flying study plans on the kitchen table and flight-in-clouds checklists near the potty (I know, TMI).  But wait, there is more!  These aviation-related things are only one of my passions.

There’s more…

I am also a practitioner and teacher of advanced Project Management techniques.  I write and teach courses on the subject and am interested in a number of related areas: how to portray complex data in easy-to-grasp ways; ways to get engineers, scientists, program managers, marketers and other disciplines to collaborate on project teams; and ways to get Generation Y-ers, Generation X-ers and Baby Boomers to stop sniping at each other and come together on project teams.  I have just finished reading four books on that last subject and plan to write one this spring with my friend and colleague Ken Pardoe.  I have begun teaching advanced collaboration techniques in our Project Dominance courses so I have notes and articles on that topic laying all around the house.

So what?  Big deal.  Are you asking “What does that have to do with me, or with baby birds?”  Next week I’ll tell you.  And it will probably scare the crap out of you.  And if it doesn’t, THAT will scare the crap out of me!

Copyright: Solid Thinking Corp.

Mack McKinneyMack McKinney is on a personal crusade to eliminate conflict and stress in our lives. Mack’s mantra is “People treat you like you TRAIN them to treat you!” His company Solid Thinking Corporation teaches creativity, concept development, relationship management and high-performance project leadership to major US corporations and the US government
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