ORGANISATIONAL CONDITIONING (A MONKEY TALE)
Here's an interesting story of an experiment done to analyze the process of behavioral conditioning in a group. The characters are monkeys, but the experiment reveals in a humorous manner how people get conditioned in organizations!
The monkey tale is as follows:
Eight monkeys were put in a room. In the middle of the room was a ladder, leading to a bunch of bananas hanging from a hook on the ceiling. Each time a monkey tried to climb the ladder; all the monkeys were sprayed with ice water, which made them miserable.
Soon enough, whenever a monkey attempted to climb the ladder, all of the other monkeys, not wanting to be sprayed, set upon him and beat him up.
Soon, none of the eight monkeys ever attempts to climb the ladder. One of the original monkeys is then removed, and a new monkey is put in the room.
Seeing the bananas and the ladder, he wonders why none of the other monkeys are doing the obvious, but, undaunted, he immediately begins to climb the ladder. All the other monkeys fall upon him and beat him silly.
He has no idea why. However, he no longer attempts to climb the ladder.
A second original monkey is removed and replaced. The newcomer again attempts to climb the ladder, but all the other monkeys hammer the hell out of him. This includes the previous new monkey, who, grateful that he's not on the receiving end this time, participates in the beating because all the other monkeys are doing it. However, he has no idea why he's attacking the new monkey.
One by one, all the original monkeys are replaced. Eight new monkeys are now in the room. None of them have ever been sprayed by ice water. None of them attempts to climb the ladder.
All of them will enthusiastically beat up any new monkey who tries, without having any idea why.
AND THAT'S HOW ANY COMPANY'S POLICIES/PROCESS GETS ESTABLISHED!
If you are about to embark on a programme that requires significant numbers of people to change values, attitudes or behaviours, then consider using a structured Change Management approach.
When projects run into problems, it is usually because of people-related issues, not technical difficulties
Research confirms that the number one reason for change initiatives to fail is the inability of people to adjust their behaviour, skills and commitment to the new requirements. People, who feel out of control (beneath the surface) and don’t know what to expect, do not perform well.
Change Management integrates the necessary behaviour, skills, commitment and alignment by defining and instilling new ways of overcoming resistance to change, by building consensus among stakeholders and employees.
Why do we need Change Management we already have Programme and Project Managers?
In my experience, most project managers will spend the majority of their time worrying about practical issues with deliverables and timelines and generally not the people risks.
Change management activities involve doing work in new ways, but with a disciplined approach. It is best used on initiatives where the risk of failure is high and where people’s way of working needs to change.
It fully integrates with other disciplines such as Six Sigma and project planning such as Prince 2, in planning, testing and implementing all aspects of the change.
The reason why it is so successful is it creates a solid foundation by providing: clear, consistent communication plans and an effective mechanism for measuring and tracking commitment and performance.
Adopt a ‘People Centred’ Change Management Approach:
People will become motivated and more cooperative when they can see a benefit for themselves in the change.