Most of you will not have visited the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island. It happens every day of the year at dusk. At that time a colony of Little Penguins (about 30cm tall and the world’s smallest of the 17 varieties that exist) come crashing out of the surf after a day’s hunting for fish, and make their way up the beach to their burrows in the sand. Hundreds of people pay to sit on concrete terraces and watch this sight and then follow them up the sand on walkways as they make their way to the individual holes in the sand that they call home. It all takes about an hour and is a curious phenomenon at the very least.
What struck me was that when the birds come crashing out of the surf they do not continue their journey up the beach. Rather they group in the shallow water and wait, checking out the lie of the land, and then move as one onto the sand. Often something frightens them and they turn tail and flee into the comparative safety of the water and then emerge again and regroup. Finally they move to the point of no return and shuffle up the beach as quickly as they can and into the safety of the sand dunes where the chicks are wating for their evening feed.
Maybe there is a lesson for us at work. It is so much better to move as a group rather than take unilateral action and so much safer to check out the lie of the land before moving. But once you start, you are commited to moving to the next safe point. If the Penguins do this 365 days a year, maybe we could attempt this strategy once?