You may have seen a viral, motivation video regarding the transformation of the middle-aged Eagle selling an inspiration metaphor for change.
The story goes like this.
The Eagle has the longest life span of its species and can live for up to 70 years. To reach this ripe old age however; during its 40th year, the Eagle must undergo a 5-month rebirth of sorts. Firstly, and gruesomely, it must peck at a rock until its bent beak completely breaks off and a new one can grow. It then uses its new beak to pluck out its old, tired talons so new, sharper ones can emerge. Finally, these new talons tear at its old feathers, baring its chest and wings so new feathers can cover the Eagle and it can soar again. Once this painful 5-month transformation is over, the Eagle can live for another 30 years.
Great story. Compelling, moving, and a complete hoax.
Sadly, the truth is not quite as exciting a tale but the lesson is just as impactful. Eagles do not extend their lifespan by destroying their beaks, dismembering their talons and ripping their feathers off; and they generally only live until they are about 30.
But Eagles ARE in a constant state of change, of growth and of renewal. If they do not learn from their surroundings and adapt; they die. They spend hours each day sharpening their talons for efficient hunting of prey and they endlessly groom their feathers to maximize speed of flight. In any given moment, they are battle ready.
Great radio stations and successful personalities don’t simply shut down for months on end to reinvent themselves and hone a new offering for the world, they are methodical yet relentless in their growth and improvement.
Much like a 5-month period with no beak or talons would lead to starvation for the Eagle, completely disappearing from listeners hearts and minds can lead to brand irrelevance and indifference.
Change is good. Making changes while remaining top of mind with your audience is better. Evolve but take your followers with you on the journey and always keep your talons sharp.