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I operate an Internet radio show that seeks to help independent entertainers and artists promote their projects.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Monkey Management: A Modern Corporate Fable:

Editor’s Note:

Having spent most of my professional career as a sales rep, I’ve been on all kinds of different training classes and heard countless stories and barnyard analogies about life in the corporate world. Some of them were more relevant and enduring than others but, the one you’re about to read is my personal favorite.

It was first passed down to me from a nameless colleague who used to collect stuff like this and I thought it would be fun to share it with you here. While the specific origins of the story are unknown, it appears to have been loosely based on an actual scientific experiment.

(Turns on 1920s carnival barker voice.)

Now everybody listen closely as I reveal the secret of… Monkey Management!


Monkey Management: A Modern Corporate Fable:

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it.

Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with icy cold water. Douse them until they’re soaked to the bone.

After a while, another monkey will make an attempt at the banana. Again, spray all the others with cold water. When a third monkey goes for the stairs, the remaining ones will unleash upon him a beating of biblical proportions.

Now, put away the cold water.

Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and takes a run at the stairs. To his shock and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him! After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he’ll be assaulted but, having never been exposed to the cold water, he doesn’t know why.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is also attacked. The previous newcomer now takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Replace a third original monkey with a new one - then a fourth. The newest monkey will invariably get attacked every time he goes for the stairs.

Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why the beatings are taking place.

When all of the original monkeys have been replaced, none will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana.

Why not?

Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been done around here!

And that, dear readers, is how a company policy starts.

The End.


  1. Good one, Casey....sad but oh so true,

    1. Thanks, Eden. I remember when I first heard it myself - bit of a "eureka moment" :-)