"When a change occurs, are you ridged like a tree or flexible like a reed?"

The recent storms and floods in Adelaide dramatically changed the environment near my home. The river has widened, the man made bridges have been destroyed and the trees blown over. On my walk this morning looking at the mess I was reminded of something I wrote about personal agility in my book ‘Unleash the Slayer Within’. So here is a short fable inspired by the changes in Linear Park in Adelaide South Australia.


One day a reed was happily swaying in the river and as the wind blew he moved back and forth.

A large tree stood near him and began to laugh. The tree looked down on the little reed.

“Look at you little reed swaying back and forth. You can’t even stand upright. Constantly swaying because of the river and the wind. Look at me. I’m solid. My roots are deep and my trunk is strong. I’ve been here for years and I don’t move willy nilly with the wind. I’m in control.”

The tree laughed and laughed at the reed swaying back and forth. The reed started to wonder what it would be like to be more rigid like the tree.

Suddenly the wind increased and the rain started to pour down. The river became flooded and the water rushed along getting faster and faster.

The little reed was push over by the strong flow of the river and as his head was under the water he wished that he was like the big tree. He was scared at first and wanted the strong rains and winds to stop. But eventually he let go of his fear and started to enjoy the feeling of the water rushing around him.

Eventually the rain stopped and the river became settled again. The little reed pulled himself together and popped back up to stand straight in the water.

As he looked towards the big tree he was shocked. The big tree was lying on the ground. It’s branches broken and it’s roots ripped up from the bank.

Saddened by this he looked to a smaller tree further up the bank to ask what happened. “The old tree was not flexible enough and so when the change of the river and weather came, it was too much to bear. It couldn’t bend and flex like you so he toppled over.”

Change in the environment happens every day. When a change occurs in your environment, are you ridged like the big tree or flexible like the reed?

Both have benefits, but think about who is enjoying the storm more.


A shout out to the Fables of Aesop that were inspired by storms previously 🙂

Contact Michelle through LinkedIn or her website at www.cultureandleadership.com

About the Author:

Michelle’s dream is to create workplaces where people are valued and feel safe, and organisations that are great places to work and do business.
Leveraging her interest in people and organisational development, she traded in her accounting career to pursue her undergraduate and graduate degrees in human behaviour, organisational development and ethics.
In 2013, after holding a range of positions in human resources and senior management, Michelle founded SynergyIQ a management consultancy. Michelle now runs SynergyIQ with her two business partners, and a team of amazing consulting and change professionals specialising in leadership, culture, and change.
Michelle’s professional associations and accreditations include the Australian Human Resource Institute (CAHRI), Human Synergystics (OCI/OEI/LSI), the Leaders Institute of South Australia (GLF2013) and is a Certified DARE TO LEAD™ Facilitator.
Michelle is the author of “Energy Vampires Suck” – vol1&2, and the international bestseller “Culture Inc: create a business that delivers results and people love”.

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