I went for a short run this morning. Well, I call it a run, it was more like a 3-mile shuffle. Anyway, as I ‘ran’ through some local fields, I heard several skylarks flying high above me.
The male skylark has a distinctive, warbling song that he only sings as he rises and soars, announcing to others that this is his territory and that he is open to a new mate. The song continues for as long as the skylark is airborne – anything from a couple of minutes to half-an-hour – and stops as he parachutes back to the ground.
It’s such an uplifting sound that, despite the bird’s fairly ordinary physical appearance, the skylark has inspired more artists, poets and composers (including Chaucer, Shakespeare and Vaughan-Williams) than any other bird.
And, critically, the skylark flies high, singing his beautiful song, every day of the year.
As a leader of your business, it can be tempting to share your purpose, strategy and key objectives with your organisation in a handful of set-piece events, before reverting to a daily focus on problem-solving the inevitable, never-ending list of urgent issues.
But that doesn’t work. Strategies that are only communicated and talked about a couple of times a year don’t really exist. Like the skylark, you need to find ways to rise high, share your message and inspire your people day in and day out.
Off The Record: Skylark by Hoagy Charmichael and Johnny Mercer
Skylark, have you anything to say to me?
Won’t you tell me where my love can be?
Is there a meadow in the mist,
Where someone’s waiting to be kissed?