• Rob Haynes

A lesson from my dog:


No, this has nothing to do with obedience, loyalty or any of those other doggy traits.

The folowing photo is of my dog, Abbi. Abbi is a 5-year old female Border Collie. According to Google, Border Collie’s are the smartest dog breed (or at least one of the smartest). She’s been pretty well trained, she does a few tricks and usually does what she’s told.

Being a Border Collie, Abbi needs a fair bit of exercise. She goes out for a walk or run most days of the week. Twice a week Abbi goes for a bushwalk with her friend Max. Max is a two 2-year old Jack Russel cross.

Abbi has obviously spent some time watching Max and imitating some of his behaviour.

Recently I have noticed that Abbi has developed a strange habit. When we are out we tend to stop at a rubbish bin in one of the local parks to deposit some of Abbi’s ‘litter’. Near the bin there are a series of upright pine logs which surround the park.

When I walk away from the bin, Abbi drags me over to one particular pole (I know, I’m meant to be the boss, but that’s another subject….). When she reaches the pole, she has the usual sniff around ……….nothing unusual yet.

The new habit is the unusual thing, basically she’s developed the habit of standing next to the pole and cocking her leg against it. I remind you, she’s a female dog…….. so she’s using the wrong technique.

She’s obviously been watching her friend Max and has decided to copy him.

At first, I thought this was pretty funny. Then I thought it was clever. But I have been thinking about this some more….and I realise that there’s a lesson to be learned.

Abbi has obviously studied Max’s behaviour and decided that she wants to do the same thing. She’s studied his technique, perhaps practiced a few times in her mind and she is now working to perfect her technique. But there’s a problem. No matter how much Abbi practices, she will never be able to truly master this task.

She’s fallen into the trap of thinking that she can do something just because she’s studied others doing the same thing. What she doesn’t realise is that she does not have the full information – in other words she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. To put it bluntly, she doesn’t have the right equipment……..

This is a trap that many business owners have fallen into at one point or another (I have). We need some specialist help, but then for one reason or another, we decide that we can ‘go it alone’. There can be a range of reasons, ranging from cost, or simply thinking that we know enough to work through the issue. I know there’s been days that I regret spending all of my time on that ‘little IT’ issue – and have found it really frustrating. After the event, I’ve spoken to experts and have found out that the ‘complex problem’ actually had an easy solution - if only I had known.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to tell Abbi that she should go back to normal – to focus on her own strengths. For some reason, she’s not listening to me at the moment – perhaps she’s not so smart after all………

#leadership #BusinessStrategy

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