Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Welcome to the New Year

Photo: Gordon Smith, Copperhead. Copperheads are shy and retiring by nature, and prefer to escape rather than fight where escape is possible, and their venom is, by Australian standards, only moderately toxic (equal on a per-mg basis to that of the Indian Cobra!). Nevertheless, they deliver a substantial quantity of venom and a copperhead bite left untreated can easily kill a healthy adult human.

Welcome to the new year.

Why a copperhead illustration? Well, partly because it is a good photo. But also because the copperhead provides a management lesson.

The copperhead is a shy snake. You have to provoke it before it bites, but if provoked it can kill you. In this sense, it is like many organisations. Mismanage them enough, prod them enough, and they will bite back. That is why so many new brooms fail.

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