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 cold water. After a while, when another monkey makes an attempt -- all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when any monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will stop it.

Now, remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey will see the banana and and begin to climb the stairs. However, all of the other monkeys will forcibly stop him him. After numerous attempts, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be stopped.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer will go for the banana and he, in turn, will be held back by the others -- including the previous newcomer! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys 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.

Moral of the Story: This, ladies and gentlemen, is how company policy is made.

1 comment:

John Renesch said...

I used this quote in my book Getting to the Better Future and read it during many of my speeches. However, I never had an author to acknowledge. Does anyone know the source of this story?

John Renesch