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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Recognizing "wild ducks" in oneself and in the workplace

Congruent, yet independent. A Mallard mother and part of her brood, Stadtpark Pond in Vienna (July 2013)
The above photo, of a duck and her ducklings, was one of my (unsuccessful) entries in an intra-organizational contest just last month. Coincidentally, the notion of "treasuring wild ducks", metaphorically speaking, had been one of the subjects covered during my employer's Centennial commemoration. There is a 14 minute video with beautiful animation and story-telling, if you happen to have the time and inclination.

As those following my +Mayo Takeuchi Plus presence may have realized some years ago, ducks are the most common type of wildfowl that I can readily record, in both still and moving images. This year in particular, the local park has seen a bumper crop of ducklings. Their precocial abilities still manage to impress me: aside from the youngest ones emitting a high pitched, urgent peeping call when they lose sight of their mother, they know how to independently seek edible matter, swim, dive, stretch their as yet flightless wings, and cluster together for safety when they sleep. Compare such competence with most mammalian young!

In the business context, "wild ducks" are the non-conformists. To a wild duck, being fed (remunerated) is not tantamount to being domesticated. Pioneering and creative, they do not have to hide amongst the masses, nor will they always flock with them. Last December, I was reminded of this when a lone Red Crested Pochard drake spent a few weeks commingling (but not socializing with) the sea of Mallard and Mallard-esque ducks, also in the Vienna Stadtpark pond. He departed, as mysteriously and as suddenly as he'd arrived, at the beginning of 2013.

However, unlike that drake, human "wild ducks" don't necessarily stand out so clearly. They may not be vocal or behave in an extroverted manner during meetings. They may not even behave in an alien or unusual way, or openly flaunt convention and due process. Rather, their inner thoughts, reasoning, ideas, and perhaps a suspension of preconceived notions of limits - all or some subset thereof may reveal their inherent wildness. Detecting wild workplace ducks may take months or years, and ideally, a combination of open-minded yet supportive management and a sense of self-confidence that has been earned and nurtured, would allow for such individuals to maximize their potential.

Does your employer nurture the wildness that might lurk within its staff? Do you perceive yourself as a wild duck? And, what benefits may there be to being tame? Could we all become a flock of wild ducks without drawbacks?

These are some of the questions I've been mulling of late.

About Mayo

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Professional: As "Senior Enterprise SEO Strategist" in IBM's Digital Marketing division, I provide consulting and training services for both internal and external clients. Formerly I was involved in Natural Language Processing, software localization, quality assurance and documentation authoring.
Personal: INTJ Nikkei Nisei ex-patriated Canadian who takes photographs and enjoys Baroque through late Classical music. The G+ page shares some of the "best of" photos.