We need to be more dolphin


Justin and I work well together. We’ve known each other for a few years now. We are developing a training course which we will be delivering in a few days as part of the Rural Cultural Business Innovation Programme. Things are going well. We have a good number of organizations signed up but the clock is ticking.

I can feel the pressure of the weight of stuff that is still to be done. It is gnawing away at me like a terrier. My task list is getting longer and the days are getting fewer. At times I think we are not going to make it yet, deep down, I know that this is the pressure in which I thrive.

But my approach doesn’t always work. I want to do and I know that Justin does too, yet sometimes he wants us to talk things through, to get the right and better decisions. He is right, he is saying to me exactly what I would say to my team in my last role. I know it but it does nothing to relieve me of my tension. Somehow I feel that this is different, our necks are on the line, yet is it?

We are different people. His needs are not the same as mine and this is why we will work as a team. It is the combination of our strengths that will make us win. Sometimes he is in search and I am too much in execute but we need to let things emerge through creative dialogue. We need to find a way to accommodate both of our styles.

I apologised for my approach and he sent me a picture of where the brown waters of the Amazon meet the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. In the middle of the photo is a dolphin. That is where we need to be.

We need to be more dolphin.

2 thoughts on “We need to be more dolphin

  1. Hi Phil

    Thank you for your kind words! It’s good that you share your thoughts and feelings – it helps other understand, and creates permission for collaborators to do likewise.

    You remind me of Douglas Adams’ book – “So long and thanks for all the fish”, which is perhaps my favourite of his H2G2. But I digress [wouldn’t be the first time! ;)]

    You also remind me of Parker Palmer’s concept of the ‘Tragic Gap’. According to Parker:

    “By the tragic gap I mean the gap between the hard realities around us and what we know is possible — not because we wish it were so, but because we’ve seen it with our own eyes.”


    “As you stand in the gap between reality and possibility, the temptation is to jump onto one side or the other. If you jump onto the side of too much hard reality, you can get stuck in corrosive cynicism. […] If you jump onto the side of too much possibility, you can get caught up in irrelevant idealism. […] These two extremes sound very different, but they have the same impact on us: both take us out of the gap — and the gap is where all the action is.”

    IMHO by holding space for difference, we can create new and better things. As consultants, facilitators, and friends – we hold space for uncertainty so that others can learn and join us in the Tragic Gap and grapple with uncertainty.

    I suggest that one of the main benefits of the Lean Startup framework is that it gives us ‘enough structure’ so that we can stay in the gap and work with uncertainty.

    From that uncertainty comes possibility and innovation.

    Perhaps an intro slide for our workshop?!


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