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Mistaken Identity

At the beginning of the summer, my husband fenced off a small area on our property that he thought had a high concentration of elderberry plants (deer love these bushes and he wanted them to grow for ground cover). About four weeks later, he was doing research and realized that what he thought was elderberry might be water hemlock.

As any good scientist does, he went out to verify and found that the plants are water hemlock, which are one of the most poisonous plants in Pennsylvania. We laughed, joking that it was no wonder the deer didn’t jump inside to eat these plants. The deer know better.

As leaders, we often focus on learning to make our organizations and work more meaningful and effective. Sometimes, as in the case with my husband, we realize that our initial understanding wasn’t accurate. So we course-correct, we reevaluate, and we move forward with the information we have. Mistaken identity isn’t a bad thing because we can learn and grow from it.


  • Think about the last time you had to make a change because new information was revealed. How did you move forward to incorporate the new information into your plan?

  • What did you learn that helps for future projects or work?

Stay curious friends!

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