Lessons From a Green Singing Duck

Following the death of Keith Harris, there have been clips of Orville’s Song appearing among the tributes. I am tempted to say that they are mercifully short (strange that nobody has covered it, other than a German cow in translation).

The BBC has a clip of the duo on Top of the Pops.

Not my favourite song, but it holds some lessons:

Orville: I wish I could fly way up to the sky, but I can’t

Harris: You can

Orville: I can’t.  I wish I could see what folks see in me, but I can’t

Harris: You can

Orville: I can’t…….(and so on).

Many of us have limiting beliefs – we are held back by the idea that we cannot do something. As the saying goes “If you think you can, you might; if you think you can’t, you’re right”. This applies even to business: I was listening to someone at Aston Business School last night point out that many new businesses are not nearly ambitious enough.

Years ago I remember hearing UK motor manufacturers point out that exporting was difficult because everybody else drives on the right. Shortly afterwards, the dominant motor industry globally, exporting to Europe, America and all other parts of the world, was that of Japan. And in Japan they drive on the left, just like us. It may explain why the largest British owned car company is now probably Morgan.

Another issue is understanding how others perceive us or our business. For example, it is very easy to make assumptions about how clients or customers view what we provide. There are stories of law firms who think that they are good at client relationships, but the client’s view is that they are not – the only time they contact a client voluntarily is to notify them of an increased fee.

The place Keith Harris play is of a friend who encourages Orville, challenging his beliefs and giving support. As you would expect, I am a fan of appropriate coaching as a way of having someone who is on your side, who is prepared to challenge rather than support unquestioningly.

Lastly, look for lessons and inspiration, without preconceptions of who you might learn from. Even from an uncertain green baby duck in a nappy.

Keith Harris RIP

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