You Want to Talk or Fish?

One day a Game Warden drove up to a large pond and saw a man in a fishing boat out in the middle.  He stopped the car and decided to watch for a few minutes.  Just then the man in the boat lit a stick of dynamite and threw it into the water.

Boom!! Suddenly there were dozens of fish floating at the surface and the man proceeded to scoop them up with a net.

Outraged at this highly illegal act, the Warden jumped into an empty boat and rowed out to the man, shouting as he approached.  “What do you think you are doing? Are you nuts or something? Don’t you know that’s illegal?”

The old man in the boat looked at the approaching Game Warden with disinterest and reached down into his boat. When the Warden came along side the man calmly handed him a lit stick of dynamite and said: “You want to talk or fish?”

As a dedicated flyfisherman, this story goes against all my values, ethics and practices of fishing, but it is a good laugh.  And it has a point as well.

As we look at the state of things around the world; economic stagnation, rising national debts in many once strong nations, the failure of the Arab Spring to bring about any fundamental improvements, the long drawn-out wars where peace and prosperity are faint visions on a smoky horizon, the weakness of politicians to do the “right thing” instead of the “easy thing”.

It’s time to fix things and stop talking about them.  The solutions are available. The studies have been made and confirmed.  The improvements are possible.  What is lacking is action! And in the world of  societies this translates into personal and political will. In many countries the only opportunity for change is revolution in the streets.  In the US, UK and other democratic countries we can affect change through the ballot box. If we move from talk to action. An d it is not just action at the ballot box that is important, but action by our elected officials, action by the millions who can volunteer their time, energy and expertise to bringing about sustainable improvements, action by global businesses who can shift from a singular focus on profits to a balanced focus of doing well and doing good for the communities they serve and for the planet we all live on.

 Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty. – Thomas Jefferson

You want to talk or fish?

Written and Posted by: John R. Childress

Senior Executive Advisor on Leadership, Culture and Strategy Execution Issues,
Business Author and Advisor to CEOs
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid


Twitter @bizjrchildress

Read John’s blog,

On Amazon: LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture

Read  The Economist review of LEVERAGE
Also on Amazon:   FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

John also writes thriller novels!

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
This entry was posted in flyfishing, Human Psychology, John R Childress, John's views on the world, leadership and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to You Want to Talk or Fish?

  1. I’ll second that…


  2. mimijk says:

    Make that three!


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