The poison dart frog – why it pays to be a specialist!

The modern office is a complex matrix of skills, responsibilities and personalities. My job at OneStrand allows me the privilege to spend a lot of time on site with many different organizations to work with Military personnel, large corporations and even small high tech start-ups, to name a few.  My favorite time of the day onsite is having coffee in their boardroom, lunchroom or stockroom listening to the how, why and when stories of these always interesting people. The ideas and the passion of those CEO’s, sales reps, writers, engineers, pilots and programmers have for their projects always fills those rooms with such confidence that energizes me on a personal level.

Occasionally during my visits onsite I get to meet one of my favorite personality types, the Poison Dart Frog, better known as a “Dart” person in this blog.

The tiny poison dart frogs ranges in size between 2 to 6 centimeters. Born some 40-45 million years ago somewhere in the forests of northern South America,  a single golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis) holds enough poison to kill 10 grown men, making these frogs perhaps the most poisonous animals alive. For thousands of years the indigenous tribes would dip the tip of their arrows into the frothy poison sweating from the back of an agitated frog. The poison will remain potent for a year.

By now you may be asking, what is the correlation between a Dart person and this Poison Dart Frog? Excellent question!

Poison dart frogs don’t actually make their own poison, they get it from their food, mainly mites and ants. They are “self-loading weapons”!  Dart people are those individuals who are always learning and up-skilling their knowledge. They will raise their hand to any task that expands their range of knowledge to actively seek out challenges, new skills and tools while building on their core knowledge.  Therefore, they too are “self-loading weapons”.

With enhanced skills comes the confidence to ride the waves that inevitably break on every organization.  In the frog world, the brighter the frog, the more poisonous it is. The reds, yellows and vivid blues shout a warning of, “don’t mess with me!”  In Dart people, they radiate a confidence and color that shouts a warning of, “I’m smart with broad experience; don’t mess with me!”

The South American jungle is a dangerous place. All living creatures are either predator or prey, perhaps you have worked in an office that was not too different?  Any animal that makes the mistake of eating the frog will soon be dead and very few creatures will mess with these tiny, bright colored power packs, and it’s the same for those human Darts.

Over the years we have heard many stories of how people have retrained, skilled up and flexed their intellectual muscle to earn a place in their current team and they are now the flexible specialist, the “go to” Darts! These Darts have the measure of the tough projects, difficult customers and they confidently accept new challenges with no fear.

Even though 2018 is the Chinese year of the dog, as we all continue to deliver more with compressed time lines, perhaps 2018 should be the year of the Dart Frog instead?!


Michael Halter
VP Product Development
OneStrand LLC


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