“It’s the way we do things around here” Why do you do the things that you do?

For one moment stop, and think about all the activities that happen in your organisation.

How many of them are instrumental to the success of the organisation? How many of them are completed in the most efficient way? And how many of them are completed simply because that’s how we do things around here?

I came across a story that will make you think about why you do the things that you do.

A group of scientist placed 5 monkeys in a cage, and in the middle a ladder with a banana on the top of it.

Every time the monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the other monkeys with cold water.

After a while every time a monkey went up the ladder, the other ones beat up the one on the ladder.

After some time, no monkey dare go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.

Scientists then decided to substitute one of the monkeys, the first thing that the new monkey did was to go up the ladder. Immediately the other monkeys beat him up.

After several beatings, the new member learned not to climb the ladder even though he never knew why.

A second monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The first monkey even participated in the beating of the second monkey. A third monkey was changed and the same occurred. A fourth was substituted  and the beating was repeated and finally the fifth monkey was replaced.

What was left was a group of 5 monkeys that even though they had never received a cold shower continued to beat up any monkey that attempted to climb the ladder.

If it was possible to ask the monkeys why they would beat up all those that attempted to climb the ladder I bet the answer would be ” I don’t know. That’s how things are done around here”  does that sound familiar?

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