I watched a flock of generic birds wandering about the sky. They were sparrows or starlings or some other type of ubiquitous small bird, flying about in the most haphazard manner; the entire flock darting first one direction and instantly another. There didn’t appear to be reason to their route, no plan.
Then for just a moment, it looked like two of them were going to split from the group and make their way alone. The unruly flock continued without noticing that two of their number were drifting away.
Suddenly, the entire flock turned and raced in the direction of the adventuresome duo and joined up with them as if nothing had out of the ordinary had happened.
It got me to thinking about the role of the outlier, the person whose calling it is to nudge the rest of the flock in a new direction. It’s a lonely feeling sometimes and to be really good at it, you need to build up a resistance to looking over your shoulder to see if anyone is following.
I’m not willing to say the two prodigals in my story were leaders. I have a hunch they headed off on their own for no reason and the flock followed them because there was no one else leading the flock.
Not all change agents are leaders, are they? Some are just flighty birds who do something different at the right time.