Returning from a recent business trip, like most folks, when my plane landed and rolled off the active runway I dug into my pocket and fired up the cell phone. The text message awaiting me from my wife was interesting: “Careful coming in. Watch for burfs” followed immediately by “birds.” Ah, the joys of autocorrect.

Puzzled, I called to find out what was going on. Turns out that a couple of young birds had flown the nest while I was gone…only one of them didn’t get very far. It was in the back yard, bouncing around and trying to learn what to do. Its parents were staying close by, observing and trying to ward off predators. We have quite a few stray cats in the neighborhood; at least one was close by, but so was Junebug, our youngest pit bull.

Junebug fascinates me. She wakes up every morning with one mission in life: she has a lot of love to give and a short time to give it! (Except to cats.) She’d love to be friends with the chipmunk that lives under our air conditioner (so says the wife), but this morning she was standing guard over a little bird on the ground, still learning to fly.

Who’s learning to fly in your organization, and who watches out for them? In the US military, all the officer rank insignia are silver except for second lieutenant and major, which are gold. As a 2LT you’re new to the officer corp, and as a Major you’re new to management: I was told long ago that there’s nothing you can do in those two grades that someone else can’t fix, so go have fun and explore! Learn what your limits are, then push…hard.

Growth requires challenge; challenge risks failure.

Who’s growing in your organization? Who’s watching out for them? How are they treated when they fail?

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