Years ago, Al Breland showed me a clip of the EDS commercial that used Warren Bennis’ theme (his book of 1997) that managing is a lot like herding cats in a really funny commercial. So, when a new customer used that phrase in our discussion about building improvement and collaboration and shared focus on moving things together, I laughed and referenced the video on YouTube.
You can see it here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_MaJDK3VNE
When it comes to how groups really operate, the Herding Cats analogy is a really good one. Most top performers tend to like to do things their own way, which is one of the reasons that they tend to be top performers! And, in exercises like The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, it is obvious that teams of people like to make their own decisions and choices and that leadership can only influence them, not control what they do.
(I have often likened play of Lost Dutchman like what occurred in the movie, Far and Away, where it depicts the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. You can see a clip of this also on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxaJY8UZxn4. Yeeeee Haaaaaaa!!!!!)
What we do with Lost Dutchman and our other exercise is get participants to have some fun, make some choices, and behave. We then link the behavior to the desired outcomes of the session and get people talking about the need for clarity, the impact of leadership and collaboration, required resources to succeed and similar issues that may be perceived to occur in most organizations. This gives that management team an opportunity to address those perceptions, ask for commitment, and get things done more effectively.
You can find a full history of how EDS’ Herding Cats advertisement was constructed by checking out this site — theinspirationroom.com — where you can also see the video about The Running of The Squirrels, which is also a hoot!
You can also find a longer, updated and embellished article on this same topic by clicking on the icon below, where we add the metaphor of “herding frogs”:
For the FUN of It!
Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
You can find some powerful tools for impacting corporate teambuildingand improving organizational performance at our website, featuring The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine and our Square Wheels tools:
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