Some birds are so hard headed that when they spot a window and see their reflection, they keep ramming into the window over and over again. They will only stop to land on their feet or their back, fly back around to the starting point, flap their wings, gain speed and ‘thwap’ smash full speed into the same window all over again. They continue this from dusk when light first finds its way until dawn when the light slowly fades the mirrored image from the same window.
What a dumb bird, you might say. But, there are some explanations to this repetitive behavior. The most obvious explanation being that the bird is seeing a reflection. But a reflection of what exactly? Is it the reflection of the trees that makes the bird think it’s going to continuously fly without barrier? Is it the reflection of itself and the fact that it is mating season and it’s acting extra territorial? Or perhaps it doesn’t see a reflection but rather sees a pathway to continue flying. Whatever the explanation, we oftentimes still think the creature is just a plain dumb bird. Hence the term “bird brain.” We think that because its brain is of diminutive size that it can’t possibly hold enough information to know better.
So why are some species of birds considered the top 10 intelligent mammals on the planet? According to toptenz.net, the crow, for example, is considered the most intelligent bird. It can count, distinguish complex shapes and perform observational learning tasks. Crows in Israel have learned to use bread crumbs as fish bait.
The New Caledonian Crow has the ability to use tools in its daily search for food. Ravens are really smart as well. They drop nuts, clams, mussels and shells onto the highway, wait patiently for a car to run them over and feast away.
So then, are repetitive behaviors by definition dumb? Well, only if the repetitive behavior does not produce a different result.
If you would compare your managerial style to that of a bird, would you rather be compared to the bird that continuously collides against the window with nothing to show but a bruised beak? Or would you rather be a black raven continuously feasting and growing stronger and wiser?
I would presume you would pick the latter. Humans love growing and changing our styles when the time is right, when the conditions for change are favorable and when this change is needed in order for us to evolve. But there are a few out there who stick to the tried and true even though it is outdated and no longer produces real result.
Whether it is your brand, your managerial style, your company’s second quarter focus or your content marketing direction that has to be revised, make sure you have a strong team that is dedicated to helping you evolve.
So it’s ok to be a bird brain. It all depends on which bird’s brain you chose to have.