All Ducks are Different

Ashley Duncan

Ashley Duncan (IL ’14), civil rights program manager, Transit Authority of River City (TARC)

by Ashley Duncan, Ignite Louisville Class of 2014 (October 2013 – April 2014) —

All ducks are different. That pretty much sums up our day at Norton Healthcare.  Not just learning all ducks are different, but actually understanding that we all possess very different, very valuable leadership skills, super strengths and professional competencies. And what better parallel than a duck?

But of course, these weren’t just any ducks. These were highly sophisticated, top of the line … rubber ducks!  There were sergeant ducks, princess ducks, even firefighting ducks.  At first glance it didn’t make sense why an organization like Norton Healthcare uses ducks to drive home the concept of leadership but, by the end of the day, all is made clear.  Ducks have to manage more than what meets the eye, much like a leader.

Ducks have to be resilient, confident in their natural skills, supportive, empathetic and most importantly, adaptable.  Not only were we challenged to think outside the box and “really get to know our duck”; we were asked to think about what we, as emerging leaders, could learn from a duck.  This exercise encouraged me to open my eyes and evaluate my personal leadership strengths (when compared to a duck) and what I can build on in the future to become an even better duck … oops, I mean leader!  The best part about building a personal relationship with my duck is we were encouraged to take our duck back to our office and display it prominently as a constant reminder of how to “lead like a duck!”