Molly and Lola are now two years old and the garden is their playground, but not their larder. There is no need to forage for food if you are fed Felix As Good As It Looks morning and night. Instinct kicks in out by the bird feeders, though, and Molly spends hours hiding in plain sight, catching nothing.
In any event Molly and her sister are hampered; they have bells on their collars. The Snip and I like our garden songbirds and for the next few months there is nothing like the dawn chorus. It might be five when I am downstairs with the doors open, goonie on and radio off, only the distant rumble of the red-eye I am not on breaking the spell.
For over a year - this is their second spring - Molly and Lola have diligently stalked the garden and its environs doing what they do, almost to no avail. Lola has brought in a vole and Molly once held a dunnock for a few seconds before it flew off. They are top of the garden food chain in theory only and would have a fight on their paws even for that spot if Ringo from next door could scale a six foot fence.
But still they try, especially Molly, who will even stay out in rain if she has a nice spot. Tonight I am working with a large group of young professionals in London, talking networks and networking. The smarter ones will conclude that they simply need to go out and do some, whether they like it or not; whether they want to or not; whether they think they are good at it or not. Molly will eventually have a good day, my guess is with a newly fledged blue tit unaware of bird-feeder etiquette, because she keeps at it. In the end it's a numbers game. Bird feeder etiquette is great tits first, don't eat the seeds on the ground unless you are a robin, and fly away if you see a cat.
The bell is an impediment for sure but not insurmountable; when Lola brought home her vole my guess is she silently threw herself from the fence into the long grass.
Last week I was in Frankfurt delivering an intensive two day BD programme to senior professionals from all over Europe and the Middle East. At coffee breaks it's interesting to ask what they are learning: after all, they will have attended a few training sessions in their time. It turns out many of them are networking with bells around their necks: there are some things they need to stop doing, or start doing, to be more successful.
Something as simple as ensuring good business hygiene when following up, such as doing it timeously and being organised enough; or catching your mood before you go out and not being miserable; or remembering to ask better questions in your business talk, rather than spewing your expertise all over them.
Patience and persistence too, of course. That goes without saying.
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about the author
Russell Wardrop is our Chief Executive. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop him an email and we will be in touch.