Byron's Babbles

Blue Heron Leadership

great-blue-heron-steven-fine-cc-by-sa-4-0-wikipedia-600-px-tiny-aug-2016-tetrapod-zoologyThe Blue Heron is one of my favorite birds. Because of some ponds on our farm we see them flying over and walking in the water often. We also see them gleaning through our fields. They are beautiful and majestic birds. After reading Lesson #19 in  in 52 Leadership Lessons: Timeless Stories For The Modern Leader by John Parker Stewart I realized just how beautiful and awesome the Blue Heron really is. In fact they follow a very participatory and holacratic organization structure like I believe in. Most generally we only see Blue Herons one at a time. This is because, as Stewart pointed out, they like to stay in small groups or by themselves until nesting. At nesting time Heronies are formed to cooperatively get the work of raising young accomplished.img_2265

“When there is commitment and a willingness to do whatever is needed, success is far more likely. As the Blue Herons were true to each other in following through with their part, so can we as we follow their example and remain ‘true blue’.” ~ John Parker Stewart

Both male and female work together to get the nest built. After the eggs hatch both parents take care of feeding, teaching them to fly, and teaching them to catch fish. Notice there is no hierarchy here – this is about as flat a structure as you can get. There is only an eagerness to complete the task. The Blue Herons are not concerned about status or position. Furthermore, there is no complaints about fairness, equity, or doing undesirable tasks. This is the huge advantage of an intent-based environment where everyone is considered a leader. If we want our team members to work cooperatively together like Blue Herons then we must create an environment where they are able to move up the rungs of the Ladder of Leadership (created by David Marquet). The rungs are as follows (also check out the graphic pictured here):screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-4-53-58-am

  1. Tell me what to do
  2. I see
  3. I think
  4. I would like to
  5. I intend to
  6. I’ve done
  7. I’ve been doing

Are you modeling an intent-based environment where everyone works cooperatively and is concerned with getting the work done, not in titles and hype?


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  1. […] miss. I have blogged about these beautiful birds that have wing spans of over seven feet. Click here to read “Blue Heron […]


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