What our reaction to the pandemic is teaching us about herding sheep - Raising The Baa

What our reaction to the pandemic is teaching us about herding sheep

What our reaction to the pandemic is teaching us about herding sheep

Listening to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest broadcast to the nation, he referred to the analogy of mountaineering. He was referring of course to the pandemic – praising us for doing so well to manage the journey to the peak and pointing out that the journey down is often harder. 

In climbing terms, the legs are weak from summiting, the mind is less focused and concentration can lapse. One loose bit of rock or unseen crevasse and disaster can strike (even for a nimble footed Cumbrian sheep) – I’m a runner rather than a climber and I know my off-road falls have come when one or more of these 3 factors occur.

The analogy brought to our minds how the 4 main stages of behaviour we observe during our team building with sheep programmes also relate to our reaction to the pandemic:

    1. Chaos / madness / fun / no preconceptions – in the first week or two of lockdown we all couldn’t quite believe how we would cope, the situation was all a bit mad and for some people (eg those being paid yet not having to go to work and young children) it was all rather fun. To quote the most used word of the media, the situation is unprecedented so no-one knew quite how to react.
    2. Discovery / learning / trial and error – into the third week and we had all discovered a new way of living. We all learned new behaviours and some specific skills too. We took time to adapt and we realised that we had to make a few mistakes, learn from them and have another go – and many had more time than usual to do so.
    3. Frustration / complacency / disbelief – during weeks four and five some are understandably getting a bit irritated (by not being able to do normal things), possibly lapsing in certain required behaviours and anxious that things might never be exactly the same again.
    4. We’re not here yet This is the turning point…

We all need to remain committed to our new behaviours (which are keeping us safe) and capitalise on our new skills (maybe a new-found love of painting or running is helping you de-stress, now and in the future). And to move successfully and happily from stage 3 to 4, something is needed which we always watch out for in the field and don’t see as frequently as we’d like: praise / recognition.

It’s been wonderful to see both our national gratitude through the Thursday evening clapping and more specifically the tsunami of acts of kindness being shown in so many ways every day. How do you feel when you’re participating and/or at the receiving end of these actions? More or less inclined to keep going, keep committed, be successful i.e. beat this dreaded virus?


Let’s remain positive, driven and believe in success.

“Stay Apart (which we prefer to Alert, sorry Boris*), Control the Virus, Save Lives”

And when the time is right we can celebrate!

* credit Laura Richards founder of Evolve.Jobs in her LinkedIn post.

Covid-friendly outdoors team building
Keep connected whilst distanced

The sheep are ready and waiting - are ewe?

  • Risk-assessed
  • Necessary adjustments made
  • Flexible Covid-related cancellation policy
  • NEW virtual learning programme