What Can You Learn From a Bird Dog?

While coaching executives in transition is my profession, coaching bird dogs is a lifelong passion. These fine creatures have taught me many lessons that I have incorporated in my own life, as well as in my executive coaching. Namely, how to:

Sharpen Your Focus – Slow down and get on point.

Bird dogs do just the opposite of what nature instructs virtually every other dog to do. When a well-trained bird dog, like my English setter Annie, hits the scent of a quail, she will slow down, then freeze and focus on that bird, the one thing that is truly important. All her gifts, talents and skills align on her single purpose.

Strengthen Your Relationships – Connect, honor and serve.

Bird dogs are trained to acknowledge any dog that is on point by stopping immediately and pointing. This is called backing or honoring. No matter the stature of the first dog on point, every dog in the field will halt, honor and hold steady until the master says it time to move.

Simplify Everything – Act on what’s important right now. 

Bird dogs retrieve game that is harvested and return it to their master’s hand. Because there are many distractions in the field, the dog will act on this immediately so no game is lost. One bird is placed in one hand, one at a time. It is as simple as that.

The leadership transition and succession planning process – like a good bird dog, perhaps – creates an opportunity to slow down, focus on what matters most, decide how to make your best contribution and find more fulfillment by getting your leadership and life on the same page.

 

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