What kind of dinosaur leader would you like to be? #26
By Graham Bell
In our INSIGHT ADDED newsletter #24 we looked at dinosaur leadership. The Leader’s View image of a Tyrannosaurus Rex was taken at the Landmark Forest Adventure Park in the Cairngorms. The park is great and I take my hat off to those who had the vision to locate it there and who keep investing and developing it. Given it first opened almost 50 years ago, yet feels as fresh as the proverbial daisy, it takes a certain kind of leadership to operate it.
I find myself continuously fascinated and intrigued by the different kinds of leadership that go to make a well-functioning society. In the case of Landmark they have clearly had to constantly wrestle with keeping investment going whilst running a profitable and viable business. The leisure sector has changed dramatically over that period and the business has both reacted to these changes but has also influenced the changes. Maybe successful investment is all about being pro-active? It certainly takes creativity to keep ahead of the constant curves. Operating in the notoriously volatile tourism sector also takes a special expertise – and a lot of hard work.
I was laughing to myself when I saw this quote from Terry Pratchett, implicitly bemoaning change; ‘You're not allowed to call them dinosaurs any more……It's speciesist. You have to call them pre-petroleum persons.’ Most likely he was being facetious; after all he was certainly a futurist of sorts – as all good leaders should be.
Asking almost any child what their favourite dinosaur is usually brings forward a wealth of information and a strong opinion. In fact most adults my age marvel at the knowledge the average child has about dinosaurs. And that may be because what we know about dinosaurs has increased significantly since I was a boy. After enjoying my time at Landmark so much I thought I would try to fill a few of my knowledge gaps.
A few years ago I had visited Dinosaur Ridge just outside Denver, Colorado and was amazed to see a wall of dinosaur footprints. Of course, they were not walking up the side of a rockface; over millennia the ground upheavals had created a very different range.
Perhaps the most amazing fact I learned was that dinosaurs (a very wide variety) roamed the earth for around 165 million years. That is almost an incomprehensible number. When we think of how long humans have been around – and look likely to last – then this reminds us how tiny we are in the great scale of things.
And it also made me think about why we have used dinosaur in such a derogatory sense. Looking at their longevity and adaptability perhaps we should be using it as a badge of honour for a leader to be called a dinosaur leader?
So the debate in the future might be about what kind of dinosaur leader we would like to be. Who wants to be the lumbering giant of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, extremely wide at the rear but with a narrow snout, allowing unusually good binocular vision. But even that is dwarfed by the Sauropods - the largest animals to have ever lived on land. They had very long necks, long tails, small heads, and four thick, pillar-like legs. Their efficiency came from their volume. Or you may prefer to be more like the Eoraptor, a nimble, two-legged meat-eater.
No more insulting quips about dinosaurs from me then. I think I’ll just spend more time enjoying their company. After all, the best leaders, like the big dinosaurs, know when to stick their neck out!
I hated humans. They were such a disappointment. And to think, God switched dinosaurs for man. He must be raging.
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