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Bears or Birds - Who’s in Charge? Can they create a Joint Custody World in Harmony?

"In the search for a new understanding among men and women, I write this story to tease your imagination. It is a parable, a simple story to illustrate what I sense are some of the barriers to creating a Joint Custody World with the principles laid out in The Power of Authentic Harmony.

I asked myself, can men and women come together, honoring their human uniqueness, seed the ground with nature’s gifts and harvest new conversations that help everyone thrive equally. The outcomes projected – if parties so desire - would aim to resolve conflicts, regenerate new economies, and structure societies to embrace humanity, family life, health, wealth, and abundance of opportunities for all.

If women had been in charge over the last centuries would our today’s world be different? We may never know. However, using knowledge, experience, and a wonderful dose of imagination, take a journey into this fantasy story of many possibilities using the unlikely metaphor of bears (men) and birds (women) to tackle a challenged business world and the economic chaos we experience today."

Dr Pauline Crawford The Conversation Game Changer

These two different species can entwine their two natures into one vision. This story is not so unlikely.

Once upon a time ...

… a business city had been built over many decades on the “square mile” principle; every inch measurable and maximized for the owners, each square inch sold and resold, marked up, traded down; every skyscraper fielded a magnificent view, yet many streets were cold from the deep shadows the towers made. The inner streets were paved with gold and had a labyrinth of tunnel journeys and caves connected by long corridors, lift shafts and stairs and out of this a very hard-nosed culture had grown. This City was designed and inhabited by the Bears.

There was another City - known more as a community – hidden away over those same past decades. This was designed to be a community culture, with open landscapes, cosy rooms, and play stations for the younger members to learn and flourish, nesting nooks for conversations, space for innovation and creativity coffee breaks; here there were support systems that shared resources and reduced waste. This inner city was a mesh of inter-connected live wires and tree top nests. The Birds inhabited this inner city.

The Bears and the Birds were well known to each other as they had shared the earth together for millenniums, breathing the same air, drinking the same water, eating up the same resources; however, they needed different things, they had different biological needs, and even though they often held similar aspirations and dreams for their future, their perspectives on how that came to be where subtly different.

Their mutual challenge was to understand each other as the two cities grew side by side; business and life began to intertwine. Over decades of changing times, with viral changes, technology, and flexible ways of socializing; working and living together had become blended in style. Many top-level Bears observed their world was changing and surrounding market and social boundaries collapsing, evolving, and revolving in ever decreasing circles. Many natural and economic disasters challenged the very foundations of the world that both Bears and Birds loved. They now faced a world-in-crisis and obstacles that threatened to undermine life as previously known.

The Bears continued to prowl their Bear’s City There were not interested in the other city for business. Some were greedy, gruff, grizzly, and dangerous. They were very strong, grounded, and fearless. Many were strong and proud of their mighty presence and not keen to welcome Birds into their territory. A few were very wise and open to sharing with the Birds as their recognized their talents. Young cub bears were learning from their elders and played tough games, while some were afraid of their own shadows and acted like teddy bears, warm and cuddly, keen to be with the Birds nurturing embrace.

The Birds were quite different to the Bears. They were designed across many variable types with plumes of many colored feathers, bodies of different sizes and wing spans spread to glide and soar. Big or small; wild or tame; some flew in formation, others lived as family units, others fought their own battles, while many twittered happily over the garden wall. Yet all the Birds had one thing in common, their core nurturing emotionality and reproductive capabilities. They achieved tasks by managing their resources, colleagues, friends, and family. Plus, they loved to chatter and sing beautiful, creative songs. They took care of their young and whether they lived with a loving Bear or not, they tended to their families, old and young.

Their major challenge in a world designed by the Bears was that once they were attacked, damaged, or caught on the ground or threatened, the Birds were terrified. Losing a limb, a wing, or a feather made them victims.

Increasingly the Birds learned to adapt to business, managing major responsibilities and leadership roles. Many decided to create their own enterprises and balance their lives appropriately. In doing this, the empowered Birds became noticed and even feared by Bears. The Birds swooped and soared; when they gained a love for power, they too preyed on the most vulnerable, pretending they were like Bears. Many Birds flew on their own wings, expanding their remit to own their ideas.

It seemed that when Birds sang from their hearts and filled the sweet evening song of common sense, the sound of their voices infiltrated the airwaves of business and life for the better. They demanded inclusion and equality. Bears did not know what to do. As Birds left their nests to travel to and from work and home, they sought a work life balance that was alien to many Bears, yet they grew in numbers as the scent of financial independence made them flutter and flourish.

As the decades changed the nature of business and it impacted the family zone, Birds desire to be more and the Bears became defensive. They did not want Birds fluttering up the boardroom! Could the Birds seriously to be “in charge” of the Bears? This seems preposterous! (Bears said!!)

Increasingly the Birds started invading the Bear’s City (where the Bears had regularly inhabited for their daily work) seeking bigger worms and prospects for their life’s survival. They realized there were rich pickings for them too. It was tough going for the Birds to begin with as the Bears were big and strong. They had built their Bear’s City to be the powerhouse that generated wealth and provided resources for their own caves. Their traditions were well embedded in their mind-set. They liked to end their day in the cosy nest of home loving Birds. They did not always approve of working Birds. They made it a perilous journey for many working Birds, who tried to perch on the higher levels of the skyscrapers, looking for safe habitats and life-saving deals.

As the truth dawned about the Birds desires to be in the Bear’s City, many Bears did not want them in their workspaces and sharing their hard-earned stakes; however, the Birds were determined that they were there to stay and grew in numbers every year. The more conscious wise Birds and Bears knew that, for the survival of their world, the only way forward would be together.

The Bears could not understand why Birds talked in circles, chattered with others, and used random tangents to think through problems. Bears thought and acted in boxes, directed in straight lines, and expected solutions to every question. The Birds longed to bring their circular birdsong to be truly valued and honoured by the Bears as an intrinsic and valuable part of a fulfilled and successful work-life balance. They valued the Bears for their strength, tenacity, logical thinking and especially their ability to be the major provider to the family. The Birds loved the adoration that the Bears gave them at home and in many communities where they nurtured their families of young Bears and Birds.

Once the working Birds discovered the Bear’s City operations and financial criteria, they wanted a bigger piece of the pie. They knew they could add value, natural skills, more emotional intelligence, a good relationship management and different consumer knowledge to that which the Bears had. They knew they could deliver much of what the Bears offered yet with a nurturing inclusive spirit that would sustain better long-term results, combining a healthier lifestyle alongside the tradition fiscal success. Yet given all that the Birds brought to the Bear’s City, the gateways to the high skyscrapers often proved difficult and had closed combination locks that barred the doorways to the boardroom.

Can the Bears and the Birds sing a new Authentic Harmony song together?

Now times have changed. The internet highway, global trade, business from your home, education for all and entrepreneurship have all blossomed and the Birds are flourishing too and sing their beautiful songs and lyrics even more than ever. Their activities, especially the younger Y and X Gen, and now Millennium and Digital Bears and Birds are creating new cultures and different perspectives that are meaningful and inclusive.

Of course, increasingly wise Bears and Birds are getting together and writing tunes of collaboration with cords of harmony to sooth the noisy chaotic world. More evidence shows that to share this song in a magical conversations space allows for mutual creativity to grow. Seeking to listen to the different perspectives that the Bears have about Birds, and vice versa, without judgement or anger or trying to control the outcomes based on the past, is a pathway to real-synergy leadership. Many Bears and Birds find the complement of Bears and Birds both joyful and productive.

All generations can add to the music in an authentic harmonic with a full repertoire of new business. Still some older more traditional Bears do not understand these songs. When they try to sing along, their deep voices threaten the very nature of the Bird song.

The Bears can often get stuck with their macho ‘pow-wow’ power groups and warrior sports games. However, the shift has come with a world after lockdown where many Bears learned to be emotional and true to life’s healthy balance.

The Bears and the Birds may still seem at odds with each other yet, as in nature, there is also an intimate attraction between them. Love is the fuel of transformation and a counter point to the fear that often made the Bear City impenetrable. In truth, Bears and Birds love each other and have done since the beginning of time. When the attraction flourishes, they form families to parent new generations of Birds and Bears. Indeed, they naturally complement each other.

Can the Bears genuinely let the Birds into their Bear’s City in ways that truly meet the needs of both? Can the Birds persuade the Bears to get together and co-create a new Joint Custody World City domain that integrates business and life, economic revival, and social cohesion?
Can they indeed share and co-create a circular landscape that combines squares and circles, straight lines and curves, operational excellence and decisions made with instincts, mixing emotions and facts that improve economies and family union with human care?
This proposition requires all species, equal and different, to engage. It is time for the Birds to take this opportunity without prejudice and without malice even for the unforgiveable injustices that may occurred. Can we heal the ills and abuse that the Birds have been through to arrives at this choice point time? Can the Bears be led to a new space that they didn’t create originally and welcome the new narrative?





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