I am indebted to my friend the author Adam Jacot for some animal metaphors that have surfaced in management circles. You may be familiar with “boiled frog syndrome”, “lipstick on a pig” and “elephant in the room”, for which “moose on the table” seems to be an alternative, presumably among Canadians.
But unless you are a statistician, you probably haven’t heard of “a pig in a python”, which strikes me as an apt illustration of a surge in a statistic measured over time. Nor had I heard of “shooting the puppy”, which means to do the unthinkable. My favourite new animal metaphor, however, is “seagull manager” for one of those annoying people who flies in, makes a lot of noise, shits all over everything, then leaves. I suspect we can all think of someone who might fit that description.
Long live metaphors, I say, and animal ones are as good as any. Except that metaphors have even shorter lives than animals. In fact, they are more like fruit – delicious when fresh, increasingly unpalatable as they age.