The Shape of water is a book by Andrea Camilleri. It is a quote from a Bruce Lee films. It is the shape that our service needs to be. This is a topic that I keep coming back to. It haunts me and excites me.
Water can be any shape. Try it. It can be bucket shaped in a bucket, teapot shaped in a teapot and bottle shaped in a bottle. There is no empty shape it cannot fill. Water has no choice over the shape it adopts however, yet we do. Gravity is its determining factor whereas we have a variety of forces that operate upon us.
Sometimes however, we have to be a shape that we don’t wish to be. We have to apply our resources in ways that we would rather not. We must operate in the context in which we find ourselves and however much we may wish to, we cannot divorce ourselves from our parent organisation. We are in a permanent symbiotic relationship.
We need to be the shape that the organisation needs to be and that sometimes means filling nooks and crannies we may wish not to go into and fill the empty voids. That is what water does.
There is more to this analogy though. Water can take any shape, yet it can also shape anything.
Look around you. The smallest of streams can carve the mightiest gorge. The tiniest drops of rain can bring down mountains. The gentlest of waves can move continents. Ice has shaped our hemisphere. Water is a force to be reckoned with.
We need to drip and flow and lap and scrape. Given time we can change anything by being the shape of water.