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Witnessing Adaptability!

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Witnessing Adaptability!

Warning – another bird story!!

I am sitting in Amsterdam Airport at 6am, or was it 5am? Well it was 10am where I was coming from, so needless to say, I was a little disorientated. Armed with a strong coffee and a muffin, I began to do some work. Something caught my attention. It sounded like a bird, could there be a bird in Schiphol airport? Did it get trapped?

Sure enough, as I squinted up, there was a Sparrow sitting high above me (I was a little concerned about my exposed coffee and muffin, so closed my mouth). The sparrow swooped down just as a family left a table in the restaurant, much to the delight of others sitting nearby, a welcome distraction after their overnight flights and disturbed sleep.

The LBB (Little Brown Bird) began to clean the table and surrounding floor of crumbs, to be promptly joined by another LBB. They polished off what had been left behind and returned to their nest. My pity quickly turned to admiration.


As we all know, the interior of an airport has never experienced fresh air, I marvelled at how these feathered creatures, not only survived being caught in an enclosed area, but settled, produced a family, and are now thriving in a hostile environment.

It is adaptation to perfection. It got me thinking that it is exactly what we need to do as business owners in today’s harsh reality, as economies and banking systems collapse under our noses. In times of adversity, lives diversity. Every entrepreneur and business owner needs to rethink the environment they find themselves in, and adapt, just like the hardy Sparrow.

I learned a lesson this morning, have you learned how to diversify?

Elaine Rogers is a Business Trainer, Coach and Writer. She takes pain away. She helps soothe the rough and tumble of running a business through education, information and coaching. And a bit of entertainment. Elaine hangs out at The Smart Train She provides online training and coaching solutions in the areas of MS Office Skills, Business Skills, and Soft Skills. She also provides exclusive content for her ever growing email list.

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  • Great post Elaine.
    In our case we are in an industry that’s constantly changing and reinventing itself. The pace in which we embrace change daily, is brutal. I guess we have the other problem: sometimes we take for granted that people, naturally, need to adapt to change and wouldn’t also do it at our same speed.

  • Anonymous

    There is a conservative in all of us but it is essential to embrace change.

    I admire the fact that you use your time effectively in airports thinking up BT posts 🙂

    Thanks P

  • Our reality is made up of patterns of behaviour – and not necessarily based on universal truths. We need to have the self-confidence to rethink those behaviours when required and as you say adapt to our new surroundings. It can be hard but ultimately, it leads to better stress management and builds our personal as well as business resilience.

  • Very true Fred,
    it’s like when we are used to anything ourselves (as in your industry or my industry constantly evolving) we would do well to remember that not everyone else moves at the same speed or even on the same wave length 🙂 but it’s all very exciting wouldn’t you think?

  • Thank you Paul,
    I would equate that “conservativeness” about us to our “comfort” zone – like moving from the cosy couch, warm fire and good movie to try out a new hobby or simply something different.
    The difference here is that its a case of swim to keep up, or sadly sink to the mud…

  • Thanks for reading Una, and your comments.
    The self confidence is important – it will help us shift from the comfort of the old habits and move us into the challenging zone, where the want for change is great than the need to stay the same (or the need for change is greater than the want to remain the same)

  • Hi Elaine. Adaptation is key to survival – period. If you don’t adapt you will wither and die and no, I don’t think it matters at all how successful your current business is. Someone will come along and do it better at some point! Nice analogy btw

  • Thanks Barney – your last comment hits a note for me there…so we should watch our backs, watch the road ahead, watch our strategies, and watch & learn what others do.
    I seriously need to leave the birds alone now tho – leave them be to create the next generation for my entertainment and insights 🙂

  • I was sitting in the park along the banks of the river Seine the other day with Jack (my dog) when the words of your post came back to me Elaine, on my right was a large bridge with what seemed a constant stream of ambulance/police car sirens wailing by, across the river a big motorway hummed constantly and to my left another bridge, again complete with traffic, sirens and ‘honkers’…. yet here I was in the middle of all this completely happy with life and watching Jack chase the ducks …..

    Just like your LBB I had made a home for myself within a very loud and polluted environment (far cry from the open countryside of Tipperary where I hail from), and I thought how adaptable nature and people really are, we (most of us that is) have an amazing resource to accept the abnormal and make it normal, to make our ‘nests’ in often hostile environments and to succeed…. Well done on yet another wonderful post.

  • Thank you Catherine,
    Nice to know these words came to you at a time other than reading the post itself.
    You have combated all the odds by building a life for yourself in a different land. I have travelled extensively, and am very aware of the challenges that often go unnoticed, when surviving in a new environment.
    Now Paris is not the most challenging place to choose to live – I imagine the excellent food, wine, weather and basic good tastes made it somewhat easier 🙂
    So glad you enjoyed the post, there is another birdie one on the horizon – cannot help myself!!

  • The old adage “Adapt or Die” despite being completely played out is all completely true. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard somebody say “I’ve been doing business this way for XX years…” My reaction to that statement is always the same, if you’ve been doing it that way for XX years and are where you are. What could you have done if you adapted your business through the years to changing economical landscape? Could you be twice as successful? ten times as successful? Could you have a been a complete failure? See that’s the issue. Change could also mean bad and that is what scares people…

    Be bold… adapt… Great Post!!!

    Ryan H.,

  • Hi Ryan,
    Thanks for reading the post and commenting. I have just submitted (hence no link yet) another post called “The Contrails of Business with a similar slant.

    Thanks again!

  • “There is something about the physical effort of writing that helps the brain to process the information I think” Great observation, Helen! I think it is because it gets us to slow down and really listen. Thanks for the comment – Niall

  • Hi Niall,
    Writing forces us to think at a slower pace, thereby helping the information to “stick” better. I certainly takes notes in all meetings, whether with the iPad, or on paper (there is something about writing on paper that is fulfilling)
    I feel it also reassures the (potential) client, like your point 3 above.
    It also allows us to refer back to earlier points “earlier you mentioned….” and can really help re-focus the client if they tend to go off on a tangent 🙂
    Interesting points…

  • Some great points there, Elaine. Thanks for sharing your experience and insight. Another one that perhaps I should have mentioned is that note taking allows you to easily summarise at the end of the meeting. I often find when I do so that this prompts the person to add even further details. 

  • Great topic for discussion! I am a pen and paper note taker myself. I feel with all the data floating around in my head, the distractions etc. I need the pen & paper notes. I ask lots of mindful questions about the business and note taking allows me to be a better listener and remember key points. I think it also frees creative thinking. There are probably studies on this. Taking notes and asking the right questions demonstrates credibility to the person sitting in front of you.

  • Hi Andrea, thank you for the great comment! Your point about creative thinking is really interesting, I hadn’t thought of that but I reckon you’re right. I must go find out 🙂

  • I think taking notes is good for you.It doesn’t matter which meeting you are going to attend.Your reasons to take notes are really good.Some time our mind is so tired at that time we are not able to remind every points in our mind so in that situation note taking is best way to remind all things in proper way. I enjoy at the time of reading your post.Its really an informative & interesting post.Keep sharing with us in future too.

  • Dermot

    Hi Niall, I absolutely concur with your comments.
     Recently I have noticed sales people using a laptop to record their notes in Wordpad or similar. This may be very efficient and helpful for posting into say, CRM application. However, main problem I would have with it it is,the screen/lid of the laptop behaves like a physical barrier between you and the client. If you and the client are on opposite sides of the desk, there is already a barrier there.When you do later go to record your notes into the CRM, I often find that I will remember other aspects of the conversation, that I did not record, and can now enter them also into CRM.Dermot

  • I always take written notes, Niall, during face-to-face meetings.  When I’m with clients or people I know I’ll often use my laptop since I can type faster than I can write.

    I also take notes during literally every business phone call I have.  I currently have 1,700 Outlook Journal items with significant details of more than 2500 phone calls. What’s great is that they are searchable! 

    Your number 5 above is important. I always go into meetings with a plan, and often questions.  Having them in front of me is a big plus.

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