An experiment in corporate culture

Here’s an old blogosphere lesson in corporate behaviour


A group of scientists placed five monkeys in a cage and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on top.

Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with ice 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 dares to go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.

Scientists then decided to substitute one of the monkeys. The first thing this new monkey did was to go up the ladder and immediately the other monkeys beat him up.

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

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

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


Why, you ask?

 Because in  their minds… that is the way it has always been!

 This, my  friends, is how many corporate cultures operate… and illustrates why, from time to  time, all of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME.

Don’t miss the opportunity to share this classic from the blogosphere with others as they might just be asking themselves why we continue to do, what we are doing, if there is a different way out there.


Inaction through non-consensus

Is it just me or has there been a really big change in general business culture over the last ten years..?

I seem to recall businesses having people that were empowered to make decisions, accountable for those decisions and their consequences – good or bad – and generally expected to make hard decisions. But no more, it seems.

Seldom do I now come into a business that is not thick with underlying politics of non-ownership, non-accountability and an army of Teflon soldiers. All just waiting to voice their opinions, to have a say, but when it comes to someone actually making the decision… or worse, actually being accountable for it… (the sound of crickets)

What happened to those business leaders, the decision-makers?

So it seems that many (if not most) business decisions are being made by a form of mutual non-consensus, where everyone seems to avoid making any specific decision and effectively watching to see what happens on its own – a kind of group thinking and group safety position.

Consensus by agreed non-consensus or I guess you could call it – decision by group non-consensus, where a decision is made through the lack of actually making a clear decision, allowing the decision made to be a decision left to fate. Let’s all look the other way and hope that someone actually takes control, sometime.

Then we wonder why so often we see businesses doing things that just don’t seem to make any sense at all, perhaps cost the business dearly or even step well over any ethical lines – yet, how often do we see any real accountability result from that?

It goes beyond business

I can only assume the same practice of inaction persists in many of our government structures?

Is it too much to hope that someone must be steering these massive supertankers, or is that just me being far too hopeful..?