What Are Your Canaries in the Coal Mine?

In earlier days of coal mining, there was a concern about ventilation. Methane and carbon monoxide gases were a poison that could take the life of a miner before it was too late.

To resolve that concern, canaries were brought down in cages to accompany the workers. Canaries were even more sensitive to those gases and would pass out long before the miners did. As long as the bird kept singing, the miners knew their air supply was safe. A dead canary was a sign to evacuate immediately.

A very different signal comes from this ball of birch mulch.

Found in Japan, this unusual ornaments were hung over Sake during the fermentation period. When the birch has turned from green to brown, then you know that the sake has sufficiently fermented. Truly nature has provided her own timetable.

Nature provides many signs for us. The first falling leaf, the first snowfall, the first bud in the spring. So it is with organizations. What are the signs that your organization is succeeding? What are the signs that your corporate culture is what you want it to be? What are the signs that you need to make changes before it’s too late?

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