Alarm calls – in 3 scenes
The backdrop: my back garden at dusk last night
The characters: a cat, a blackbird, a squirrel, bats, the silent supervisor
Scene 1 – Garden side of the wall
I am a contented cat, happy with my lot. I’ll just sit here in the garden for a while, and then pad calmly over here. Oh, nice and settled, just close my eyes for a moment. Phrrr – just open one eye, there’s something twittering.
Oh, it’s only that blackbird – seen him round here for ages… funny that, blackbirds seem to be getting younger. Right, back to my snooze. The sun’s nearly down, he’ll be off soon.
Well if he’s going to stop me dozing, then I might as well start my evening tour. I’ll walk quietly and gently along this fence away from the noise. That blackbird is a bit energetic tonight. Watch those bats swooping around, you’d think they’d hit something, or each other, but they don’t. Clever that, I wonder how they do it.
Mmm... the top of this brick wall is lovely and warm from the day and I do like a look over at the trees before I turn in. Wow, that squirrel jumped ever so far between those two trees. Very agile – and funny, look how that branch is swinging up and down but she’s hanging on! She obviously knows where she’s going. Oh, that wretched blackbird – can’t hear myself think! Right, a bit early, but off indoors to supper and bed.
Scene 2: Tree side of the wall
I am the new Early Warning Look-Out Mate (EWLOM) for blackbirds over these three back gardens. Just earned my first black feather to get this important role!
My job is to alert all the blackbirds around of any danger coming their way – predators, scary things, rivals for our designated branches, nest threats, new neighbours. It’s a really busy time, dusk. We’ve got to make sure everyone is secure for the night. I’m the best a luring predators away, that’s how I got the job.
I need to show what a good EWLOM I’m going to be. Next career move, Supervisor.
Ah! A squirrel. Alert, alert, alert. Oh, it’s gone off to another tree – that’s not my patch. So, What next? Ah! Alert, alert, alert, C.A.T. Yes, definitely a cat. They’re dangerous those, aren’t they? This one looks OK – but it’s my job to alert. Alert, alert, alert! All blackbirds keep away. Here cat, up here! No, over here now! That’ll fool him. The nest is right the other side. Ha, I’m over here again. Hey, it’s working, he’s not even coming anywhere near. I’ll just carry on a bit for good measure. Alert, alert, alert! Great, he’s gone. I sure deserved that promotion.
Oh, hello Supervisor. I’ve just got rid of a cat – on my first shift! What do you mean the nest has been raided? I was especially vigilant and sent all the blackbirds away from the danger. If they’ve had to go to bed hungry, they should have found more food earlier in the day. That’s hardly my fault. And I scared off the cat.
Scene 3: Back in the office
Do you recognise the EWLOMs in your organisation? Have they stopped listening because they are too busy?
Without taking the analogy too far, this little scene played out in the (rare) warm air of a London evening made me think about how our focus on the important things (defending the nest effectively and keeping the blackbirds fed) can be distracted by non-threatening cats that appear, just to observe or take the air, and because we are conditioned to think it's not our job to stray onto someone else's squirrel patch. Not to mention that we're not even noticing the amazing stuff the bats can do.
While you defend your projects from the internal cats, it is being raided by competitor squirrels who dared to leap and launched theirs first. And, no EWLOM in sight.
Epilogue: Into the future
Hello Cat, thanks for agreeing to come along and we welcome you to our EWLOM monthly forum . We would love to hear what you have to say – even if it is asking the hard questions and telling us things we don’t like. But first, let's learn. Tell us about the bats… how do they do it?
This week's post comes from Clare Bamberger our new Chief Development Officer. Click here to learn more about Clare and her role at Insight-ful.
Clare Bamberger | firstname.lastname@example.org | +44 (0)7481 831349
Image: Flickr/Nisa yeh