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  • Writer's picturePaul Pilling

Are you a shark or a dog?

What on earth am I on about I hear you ask, no blog for a few weeks then this crazy title. Has he finally lost the plot well maybe yes, but hear me out first.

So I have two part complete blogs around agile working and challenges but I just wasn't feeling the passion for them, they have been done so many time before and I have not seen anything new on it.

Yes I have been one of those who has jumped on the band wagon and blogged or talked about the demise of agile in organisations. I have even got the t-shirt (see below).

Then last night whilst I sat awake due to slight insomnia (early disclaimer for this blog!!), suddenly it hit me what type of organisation are you when it comes to delivering change? Are you a shark or a dog!!

Have I lost you yet? No, good let me explain this seemingly crazy notion. If we pigeon hole in a binary way then organisations are either:

Dog -

  • enthusiastic

  • can specialise and adapt

  • loyal

  • require training and discipline

  • respond well to reward

  • sometimes can get .....

Shark -

  • feared and respected

  • sometimes misunderstood

  • able to focus fully on objective

  • evolved so whole body works in harmony

  • fully adapted to its environment

  • fast and agile

Now what I am not saying here (if I haven't lost you) is that either one is better than the other, even though it may look like sharks are better. Actually it is the dog who is actually better as a dog can adapt to different environments, where as a shark would be, well a fish out of water. What is important is that you understand which type of organisation you are.

The shark has operated the same way for thousand and thousands of years and has evolved to operate perfectly in its chosen environment, it is all it's ever known. Like a start up they operate in an agile fashion because it is all they have ever known, but take them out of that environment and scale up (pardon the pun) too fast and they can struggle to cope.

The dog on the other hand has changed it's behaviour over the time and has become a domesticated animal. At it's core it is still a wild animal so needs training and guidance in order to adapt to it's environment. Done correctly you have a an amazingly specialised animal that can help it's 'owner' to complete tasks they would struggle to do with out them. Like an organisation that is changing how it's working or adapting to a change in their environment, they must invest in the training and discipline early on to maximise the effectiveness of the change.

Was that worth the read you decide, and if you have any challenges to this idea please get in touch would be more than happy to chat.

...... and the t-shirt ( Thanks to Rachel for pointing out I missed it off)

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