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Building Community Through Better Relationships

Training Turkeys

I have the good fortune of  living in an region where eagles and turkeys co-exist. Eagles are majestic birds.  They soar, they hunt, they win! On the other hand, turkeys are known for being dim-witted and terrestrial. Turkeys are recognized for being communal, but eventually they are best known for being slaughtered.

A story that circulates in this area tells of an eagle who swooped into a turkey pen at a farm.  A group of turkeys gathered in awe at the powerful bird.  In an act of humility, the eagle asked the turkeys if they wanted to learn how to soar.  The turkeys gobbled back at the eagle that they couldn’t fly.  At best they jumped, flapped their wings vigorously and fell to earth more slowly.  The eagle insisted that he could teach them to soar in the clouds and view the world in an entirely different way. A handful of turkeys decide to seize the moment and learn from the eagle.

After days of intentional, structured training the turkeys took flight and soared. As they were taught, they flew in the clouds, they swooped down on unsuspecting animals, they saw territories from a vantage point that they had never dreamed.  The turkeys loved the eagle for introducing them to greatness.  After the final lesson, the eagle flew away and encouraged the turkeys to lead by example upon returning to the farm. The turkeys committed to training the other turkeys at the farm in the same way that they have learned from the eagle.  Feeling empowered, the turkeys soared one last time through the clouds, swooped toward the earth, landed perfectly in a field and finally walked, yes walked, the last few miles to their farm!

Far too much professional education involves teaching turkeys. They have similar characteristics to high achievers.  They have wings.  They should be able to fly.  They even have the potential to soar. But their mindsets remain stuck in mediocrity. Training does not stop with the lesson.  It does not stop with a successful test at the session’s end.  It does not even stop with the commitment to high achievement. In fact, it does not stop. Great learning is an ongoing process to apply, learn some more, and then seek new possibilities. Accountability drives that process!

For professionals, well-structured training emphasizes the learning, the tools, the commitment and accountability. Transformation occurs when those elements involve studying a process, repeating successful tactics, and purposefully teaching others.  For professionals who have lofty goals involving new business growth, performance improvement, and greater opportunities, learning and doing have to be inseparable.

Eagles do not walk under any circumstances.  They soar to their prey, the soar to their nests, they soar when they go from point A to point B.  Until turkeys adopt an eagle mindset, they will eventually walk.  Turkey professionals will bring in a new client upon learning additional business development skills.  They will introduce a process improvement after attending enough technical training sessions.  They will also resume inferior habits in the absence of discipline.  But in order to transform their livelihood; the way that a soaring eagle transforms a barnyard, then the attitude must change.  Successful professionals accept the well-structured training, apply it to their daily lives, and continuously perform in a way that reflects a higher set of winning behaviors.

By Glenn  W. Hunter

July 28, 2012 Posted by | Better Person | , , , | Leave a comment