Feb 24, 2021Liked by ML Cavanaugh


I enjoyed this piece and can totally relate to it. I wonder how you would characterize people who fall in the middle. Certainly not all people are either one or the other. Many people tend to fall somewhere in-between these two extremes. I have known many commanders who are certainly not Hippos, but I wouldn't have classified them as Hawks either. Curious on your thoughts.

By the way, while Hippos can't fly and Hawks can't swim, enjoy the YouTube on a true master of all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMft3Ny7hFk


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Tom: Thanks so much for your note, and for what it's worth, this is precisely what I had in mind with Strategy Notes at conception. The idea that instead of character-limited social media, we could (and can) knock some ideas around in a better way. Anyhow, in short, yes, I think we can be both. Lord knows I've deferred to the herd when I shouldn't have, and I did it mostly because the Highest Paid Person in the Organization (HiPPO, an acronym I've only recently learned) said so. And while usually, in most organizations, that's enough - it shouldn't be. Anyhow, I digress. I think there are some that go-between both, but it's complicated. I think the more you choose to defer to hierarchy against your better judgment the harder it is to go back...like, each choice to walk a certain way impacts/limits your future options. And then there are the folks that are simply stuck in Hippo dominated organizations and don't like it...or hawks that just won't fly because the system doesn't allow them...lots of caveats and justifications. But, to your point, I think the two "spirit animals" are extremes in order to simplify the discussion, but there's endless possibilities in how they manifest themselves. Great Q and look forward to more! All best, mlc

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