5 Important Business Lessons I Learnt From a Pigeon

There is a pair of crested pigeons nesting in a date palm in my front garden. Over the past two months I’ve been watching this pair of pigeons make their nest, lay their eggs and sit on their precious white, marble-sized cargo waiting for their offspring to break out of the confines of their egg.

My daughters and I often check the eggs to see how they are coming along in the hatching process (so far no baby pigeons). Whilst I’ve been watching this whole process I’ve learnt that there’s some very important business lessons to learn from this pigeon pair, and as always – the best lessons are often the simplest or the ones derived from nature.

So here are my “5 business lessons I learnt from a pigeon”...

1. To be in business you need balls of steel

pigeon-nesting-in-date-palmEven when I got right up close to take the photo shown here this pigeon wasn’t moving. Pigeons by their very nature are pretty flighty birds, but this pigeon wasn’t moving for love nor money. He knew his path and he was doing everything possible o ensure the safety of the cargo he was sitting on... even if his instincts were screaming at him to fly away.

Business Lesson: In business things will get tough at some stage and it sometimes seems like an easy option to pack it all in and get a “real job” but consider this... if that pigeon deviated from his path of protecting his egg, he might not get the end prize... his offspring.

2. If you have others in your business you need to work together

This seems pretty obvious but it’s amazing how you can find yourself butting heads and arguing with those in your organisation. Keep in mind that with the crested pigeon both sexes share the incubation of the eggs, and both care for the young. If they didn’t work together they wouldn’t get their nest made, wouldn’t have anywhere to lay their eggs and wouldn’t move their species forward.

Business Lesson: Keep in mind the end goal when disagreements or arguments come to pass. Focus on moving forward instead of flapping around and fighting (which gets you, your business partners, employees and business nowhere fast).

3. Even when things go drastically wrong, stay calm and carry on

When we first started watching this pair of pigeons there were two eggs in the nest. When I checked their nest a few days ago there was only one egg. Imagine the despair these pigeons must have felt when returning from finding food or water to discover one of the eggs is missing either from a predator or from the wind blowing it out of the nest. They didn’t give up hope, they continued sitting on that last egg and hopefully will continue to do so until it hatches.

Business Lesson: Even when life throws you a curveball stay calm, carry on and remember why you started in the first place.

4. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again

pigeon-original-nest-in-fernThe interesting thing about the crested pigeon nest in the date palm in my front garden is that it’s the second nest (that I know of) that this pair have made. Here’s a picture of their first attempt in a fern that hangs in our patio area. For whatever reason this position wasn’t suitable for them so they moved along and built a bigger, better nest.

Business Lesson: We don’t always get things right the first time but that’s not a reason to quit or give up.

5. Reduce your exposure to risk

You can see from this picture that the date palm in my front garden has some pretty nasty spikes on it (you should try pruning this sucker!). That being said it’s a pretty clever place to build a nest as the natural predators to these eggs (animals like lizards, rats, mice and crows) are less likely to venture into this labyrinth of spikes (trust me they hurt... I know).

Business Lesson: By choosing the right location or place to do business (industry, price point or product / service) you can reduce your exposure to risk, giving you more chance at success.

So if we look at this pair of pigeons we can see they’ve been through starting their nest, giving up on it and building a new one in a potentially dangerous and hostile environment through to having one of their eggs lost or stolen and they still continue on their path to achieve their end goal. That’s a lesson worth sharing.