Frae the Chair


The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley” - Robert Burns

I’ve searched through various analyses, parallels and derivative works on our poet Burns’ missive “To A Mouse’. My favourite is “No business plan survives first contact with a customer”. Which I learned, quite painfully, through the $5.2 Billion mistake of Iridium. They had ‘out of this world’ aspirations for global communications. Unfortunately years of my hard work and investment rode that ‘bye-bye’ rocket to oblivion.

Nowadays I pass on my costly wisdom about this to aspiring business analysts using the paradigm of a “Drunken Stagger”. We achieve a mission through strategy. We use strategy to frame benchmarks for our goals. We align tactics with strategy and use objectives to measure success of those tactics in achieving goals.

But then customers happen; competition happens; life happens; corona virus happens; a plough happens. The virus itself has no malevolent intent upon us, we’re merely the soil it is ploughing through and growing upon to sustain itself.

The “Drunken Stagger” is all about course correction while being true to one’s self. It’s about leaving the pub quite pickled with the goal of walking home. Though there’s a meander to the left and the wind blowing you to the right, you correct your course and eventually get home. Stay true to your mission, to your values and you will arrive.

While Clan Rose (Constant and True) has the closest motto to “Steadfast and True”, I believe this is what we would have as Scots if we distilled all that we are into a single motto for our clans. I truly believe that the core of everything we are as Canadians springs from this fundamental heart-line of Scottish culture and heritage.

We’ve suffered hardship, oppression, famine, disease and ruin from a foreign power but, despite them, we survived. This is how it will be with the current crisis. We’ll delay, postpone and maybe even cancel events for this year but we’ll come back. And be stronger for it!

We’ll celebrate our victories and our heroes. We’ll adapt and course correct. We’ll find our way home and bring the rest of our Canadian kin with us to the warmth of our hearth.

Please enjoy our newsletter, 'An Drochaid – the Bridge', not just as a diversion from the dismal news we’re subjected to but also as a beacon, a bridge over these troubled waters that we cross together. I’m truly looking forward to seeing and greeting everyone at upcoming games, festivals and CASSOC events. Social distance optional.

Yours Aye,

William Robert Petrie
Chair, Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada