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Managers as Mentors, 3rd Edition by Marshall Goldsmith, Chip R. Bell

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Finding the Teachable Moment

How does the bluebird know when its fast-growing offspring is ready to be pushed from the nest? Bluebirds have genetically coded weaning instincts and an innate sense of timing. They watch for certain subtle signs of maturity: restlessness, wing strength, the eagerness of the infant’s lunge toward the birdhouse exit even when there’s no worm dangling from mama’s beak, and a whole bunch of other stuff they haven’t told the bird researchers.

One key to their attentiveness is the way they take different viewpoints. Bluebird parents often perch some distance away and call out to the baby bluebird, as though to gauge reaction time—how fast does Junior respond to the chirp? A parent bluebird might perch atop the birdhouse ...

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