Over the last week I have been making the most of the glorious sunshine and have had trips to the Yorkshire Dales (beautiful weather) and the Lake District (raining as per usual!). I’ve also been out jogging along the canal near my home and although I run along it all year, perhaps the beautiful weather has caused me to pay more attention to my surroundings than normal.
Something I have been watching with interest are the ducks and the geese and their “management” of their young. It’s pretty interesting…
The ducks seem to have lots of ducklings, often into double figures. Being in a family of ducks is a pretty chaotic business. Even when the ducklings are teeny-tiny little balls of fluff, they seem to be expected to fend for themselves. It really is sink or swim. Mum and Dad duck just swim off and do their own thing and the ducklings straggle out all over the canal. For Mum and Dad, the responsibility often seems too much and the ducklings fall by the wayside, get into trouble and get lost.
When a duckling gets lost they cry plaintively and if they work out where Mum and Dad are they have to paddle like crazy to catch up. And if they can’t, tough luck! It’s sad watching their numbers dwindle and wondering what happened to all of those beautiful, hopeful, balls of life and energy? One pair of ducks even left entirely and the whole brood died. But hey, they had another brood so who cares?
Geese on the other hand seem to be pretty devoted parents. They have far fewer goslings and several along the canal only had two or three. When you see them swimming along the canal Mum (well I like to think its Mum anyway) swims at the front with the goslings close up behind her and Dad (?) swims conscientiously behind to check that no-one gets lost, injured or eaten!
When a gosling goes adrift, they are quickly helped back into line with a few squeaky noises which I guess are word of advice, encouragement and mentoring on how to survive and thrive. And this carries on until the goslings are quite big and well capable of looking after themselves.
Now you might be wandering what I am banging on about ducks and geese for and you may even think that I have lost my marbles and had too much sun? Or maybe you already made the connection?
Are you a duck or a goose?
Do you hire sales staff all coming to work hopeful and fresh only to see them fall by the wayside over the coming weeks and months until too few are left? Or do you support your teams, nurture them and help them to succeed?
Do you believe that hiring sales staff is a lottery so there’s no point spending too much time on them until they prove that they’re strong swimmers? Or do you ensure that they are given all of the help, guidance and back-up that they need?
Your approach in this will make a huge difference to your staff, your customers, your business and your success.