Implementing organizational changes and developing leaders to sustain them

Taugher Change Catalyst Consulting

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

John Lennon

Practical Management Lessons You Never Learned in School

Situation #1:

A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?" The crow answered: "Sure, why not" So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Management Lesson #1:

To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Situation #2:

A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree”, sighed the turkey but I haven't got the energy. “ Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients. "The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally, after a fortnight, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree. Soon, the turkey was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot it out of the tree.

Management Lesson #2:

Bullshit might get you to the top, but it will not keep you there.

Situation #3:

When the body was first made, all the parts wanted to be Boss. The brain said, "I should be Boss because I control all body movements, responses and functions"The feet said, "We should be Boss as we carry all the parts, including the brain, and get the brain to where he wants to go." The hands said, "We should be the Boss because we do all the work and earn all the money”. The lungs chimed in saying they should be the boss, as it their hard and constant work that keeps all parts thriving. So it went on and on with the heart, the teeth, and the eyes until finally the anus spoke up. All the parts laughed at the idea of the anus being the Boss, and did not even allow the anus to finish speaking. The anus became so angry it went on strike. It blocked itself up and refused to work.

Within a short time the eyes became crossed, the hands clenched, the feet twitched, and the heart and lungs began to panic. The mighty brain developed a fever and could not even think straight. Eventually they all decided that the anus should be the Boss, so the motion passed unanimously. All the other body parts did all the work while the Boss just sat on its butt and passed out "you know what"!

Management Lesson #3:

If you are the boss, do not be an anus!

Situation #4:

A little bird was flying south for the winter. After a while, it became so cold, the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it. As the frozen bird lay there in a pile of cow dung, it began to feel the warmth of the cow dung, which was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. By following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him!

Management Lesson #4:

1) Not everyone who drops sh-- on you is your enemy.
2) Not everyone who gets you out of sh-- is your friend.
3) When you are in deep sh--, keep your mouth shut.

Situation #5:

There once was a flock of robins, which, like all robins, would wake up in the morning and begin looking for their daily sustenance: fat, juicy worms. Each morning they would go out and search for food; each robin sometimes would be successful…but sometimes not. And so it went on, day after day, each robin searching for his or her meal, unsure of success, concerned about failure. One day, while one of the robins was probing unsuccessfully for his daily meal, he was startled suddenly to see a little man, with a little red hat pulling a little red wagon, and the man was calling, “Worms for feathers, worms for feathers!” The robin hopped up to the man and asked, “What do you mean, ‘Worms for feathers!’?” The little man replied, “I sell worms for feathers. One feather will buy you one worm.”

The robin couldn’t believe it. One fat, juicy worm for a single feather – what a deal! “Even a tiny feather for one of your worms?” asked the robin. “That’s right,” the man replied, smiling. And the robin, seeing all those fat worms wiggling around in the wagon, and recalling his poor luck that day in digging for worms, and all the days in the past that had been equally unsuccessful, said to himself, “Why should I struggle so hard every day like the other robins, not knowing whether I will eat or go hungry?” So the robin plucked a tiny feather from his rump and exchanged it for a fat worm…and it tasted delicious.

Around noon the next day the robin spotted the man walking by with his wagon calling, “Worms for feathers, worms for feathers!” Elated with yesterday’s successful trade, the robin approached the man and asked, “Same price?” “Same price,” replied the man, smiling.

So the robin plucked another insignificant feather and traded it for another fat, juicy worm. And so it went, day after day. While the other robins did their searching – sometimes successful, sometimes not, our robin would wait for the little man to appear and then trade a feather for his lunch. And the robin was getting round and plump and felt pretty good and relaxed, though he did notice a few bald spots on his rump and breast.

More days passed, until one day the robin realized that he was having trouble hopping and bending over, and his flying was getting a bit sloppy. He also noticed that he was short a good number of feathers and began to worry. He had fall migration coming up soon. As soon as he saw the little man that day he waddled over to him and asked, “You have been selling me worms for feathers all these days, and I’m getting a little bit short of them and, well…do you sell feathers for worms?” “No,” the man replied, “just worms for feathers.”

The robin, unable to probe successfully for worms and fly long distances, pressed on. “Couldn’t you sell me a feather for a worm, me such a good customer?” The man replied a bit indignantly, “No, that’s not my business!” And so the robin had to continue to sell his rapidly depleting supply of feathers for his daily meal. He became fatter and fatter, and his feathers became fewer and fewer.

Autumn came and all the other robins headed south for the winter. But our robin couldn’t fly or probe for whatever worms still lived near the surface. All he could do was keep selling his few remaining feathers for worms. And the cold north wind blew across the land, and our robin, without his feathers for warmth, started to freeze to death. A hungry fox ambled by just at that moment, and seizing on this unexpected opportunity, pounced on the robin and devoured it.

Management Lesson #5:

There is no such thing as a free lunch, and if you think there is, you may be it.

[There is a cost attached to everything we do…or do not do. An easier way to accomplish something, or ignore the implications of action or inaction, may not end up being the best approach in the long run.]