Weekly Wisdom

Don't Send Your Ducks to Eagle School
By John Maxwell

Experience has taught me a valuable lesson:  no matter what I do or how hard I try to help people, not everyone will respond in the same way.  The first rule of management is this:  don't send your ducks to eagle school.  Why? Because it won't work.  Good people are found, not changed.  They can change themselves, but you can't change them.  Hotel chain article:  We do not teach people to be nice we hire nice people.  Don't waste your time trying to turn ducks into eagles.  Hire people who already have the motivation and drive to be eagles and then just let them soar.



1.      If you send ducks to eagle school, you will frustrate the ducks.  Lets face it, ducks are not supposed to be eagles.  Who they are is who they should be. Leadership is all about placing people in the right place so they can be successful. There's nothing wrong with ducks, just don't ask them to soar or hunt from a high altitude.


2.      If you send ducks to eagle school, you will frustrate the eagles. My mother used to say, "birds of a feather flock together." That really true.  Eagles don't want to hang around with ducks. They don't want to live in a barnyard or swim in a pond.  Their potential makes them inpatient with those who cannot soar.  People who are used to moving fast and flying high are easily frustrated by people who want to hold them back.


3.     If you send ducks to Eagle School, you will frustrate yourself.  Have you ever led people who never did rise up and fulfill your expectations no matter how much you motivated them, trained them, provided them with resources, or gave them opportunities, they just didn't perform according to your expectations? Maybe they weren't the problem.  Maybe you were?

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, where have you been?

I've been to London to visit the queen.

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, what did you there?

I frightened a little mouse under the chair.

..............Why did the cat start chasing a mouse in London when he was there to see the queen-a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?  Because he was a cat! What else would you expect him to do? Cats do what cats do, ducks what ducks do and eagles do what eagles do. As a leader, your job is to help your ducks become better ducks and  your eagles better eagles-don't mix the two. Key to put individuals in the right places and help them reach their potential.

                  You shouldn't ask someone to grow in areas where they have no natural talent.

Why? Because our ability to grow and change is very different depending on whether or not we can make choices. Let me explain.  In areas where we have choices, our growth potential is unlimited.  Attitude is a choice. Character is a choice.  Responsibility is a choice.  Natural ability is not a choice. It's a gift. You have whatever you  have . You cannot put something in that God has left out. 

Its very important for a leader to get the right people in the organization and put them in the right positions.  There are few things that a leader does that are more important than this.  If you need eagles in your organization, make it your mission to search for people who possess some of the qualities you've seen in other eagles. Look high and low.  If you can't find any potential eagles within your organization, search for them outside of it.  In other words, if you need a great eagle, go find a potential eagle.  Only then  do you have the possibility of developing that person into a great eagle. Don't get a duck.  No matter how much you train that person, all you'll receive is a "quack."

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