Forest of Metaphors

Ropes Course Element: I leapt 4-5 feet from a small platform to a smaller one with six adults already on it. Like a wrecking ball, I figured I would take them down with momentum and weight. Instead, they countered my force and then some. As I was reeling backwards from the contact, they grabbed me and pulled me aboard.

Organizational Metaphor: The power of the group is always greater than the power of the individual. The ropes course is not a proving ground for solo artists; neither is a highly functioning team.


Ropes Course Element: Blindfolded and with hands locked to form a human chain, seven of us searched a portion of a field for a huge rope that we would eventually have to form into a polygon. We could not make any sounds.

Organizational Metaphor: Going into the dark or unknown territory is not as frightening when linked with others committed to a common cause. The key to success is prior planning and communication. Every voice counts in the process.


Ropes Course Element: I stood five feet in the air on a piling. My back was to the group behind me that I was trusting to catch me. I tilted to no return. As I fell backwards through space, I relied on faith and trust. Suddenly, my fall was interrupted by 14 outstretched arms. I was safe!

Organizational Metaphor: How many times a week do we jump off a cliff? Or do we rarely? Calculated risk is part of growth and/or breaking out of familiar paradigms. When we get ready to jump, do we see a support mechanism in place to make our landing as safe as possible? If we hit the ground, do we get back up? While down, have we ever been kicked?


The Ropes Course behind Morehead Middle School is a great asset of our school system. Every element has some lesson that can be brought to bear on organizational life. I, and seven new friends, recently spent two full days gaining our certifications. Thanks, Debbie Baysden, for a job well done in leading us!

I look forward to the kick-off of the 07-08 school year and the 3-hr meeting of all administrators for an abbreviated session at the Ropes Course.


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