Late last night I was listening to a radio programme about the reintroduction and subsequent tracking of Ospreys in Britain. The birds were mostly seen through the eyes of Roy Dennis who has studied them all his life and is clearly in awe of them.
He told one story about Nimrod, a male osprey, who left the Cairngorms in Scotland en route to Southern Morrocco. Nimrod stopped overnight in La Rochelle and then set off again, flying the whole length of Spain in one night, before crossing to southern Morrocco, travelling 2300 km in 35 hrs.
On his return Nimrod surprised Roy again when he crossed the Northern Pyrennees and entered the Bay of Biscay. Normally he would cross the Bay at a height of around 400 feet. This time he shot up to over 5000 feet and travelled at speeds close to 100km/hr!
Roy worked for the RSPB for twenty years, doing what he loved - nature conservation, bird protection and reintroduction. Of course, after a while he became more senior in the organisation and was required to spend time doing budgets and other kinds of managerial activity. He quit and became an independent consultant.
This got me to thinking about how large organisations suffer from the loss of such talent. It means that inevitably the senior positions are occupied by people who like to 'manage', produce reports and attend meetings. Those who are there because they love the work leave, or stay in less influential positions. It seems like a filter which ensures that larger organisations become detatched from their roots.
Corporate purpose and strategy is articulated by managers who are not in love with the real work of the enterprise. Indeed they probably feel uncomfortable around people like Roy. Maybe that explains how such organisations become remote from people. Like zombies they lurch around without any clear purpose, intent only on self-preservation.
Posted by Nicholas Moore 12:39:52 pm