Great Managers’ Revolutionary Insight

I found this interesting insight in the book "First Break all the rules".

 

People don’t change that much.

Don’t waste time trying to put in what was left out.

Try to draw out what was left in.

That is hard enough.

 

I wanted to find out what others are thinking about this insight. I was able to see lot of posts on this topic and landed in this interesting post. 

 

An old parable will serve to introduce the insight [great managers] shared.

There once lived a scorpion and a frog. The scorpion wanted to cross the pond, but, being a scorpion, he couldn’t swim.

So he scuttled up to the frog and asked: "Please, Mr. Frog, can you carry me across the pond on your back?"

"I would," replied the frog, "But, under the circumstances, I must refuse. You might sting me as I swim across."

"But, why would I do that?" asked the scorpion, "It is not in my interests to sting you, because you will die and then I will drown."

Although the frog knew how lethal scorpions were, the logic proved quite persuasive. Perhaps, felt the frog, in this one instance the scorpion would keep his tail in check. And so the frog agreed. The scorpion climbed onto his back, and together they set off across the pond. Just as they reached the middle of the pond, the scorpion twitched his tail and stung the frog. Mortally wounded, the frog cried out:

"Why did you sting me? It is not in your interests to sting me, because now I will die and you will drown."

"I know," replied the scorpion, as he sank into the pond. "But I am a scorpion. I have to sting you. It’s in my nature."

 

Conventional Wisdom encourages you to think like the frog. People’s natures do change, it whispers. Anyone can be anything they want to be if they just try hard enough. Indeed, as a manager, it is your duty to direct those changes. Devise rules and policies to control your employees’ unruly inclinations. Teach them skills and competencies to fill in the traits they lack. All of your best efforts as a manager should focus on either muzzling or correcting what nature saw fit to provide.

Great managers reject this out of hand. They remember what the frog forgot: that each individual, like the scorpion, is true to his unique nature. They recognize that each person is motivated differently, that each person has his own way of thinking, and his own style of relating to others. They know that there is a limit to how much remolding they can do to someone. But they don’t bemoan these differences and try to grind them down. Instead, they capitalize on them. They try to help each person become more and more of who he already is.

 

Original URL: http://gmj.gallup.com/content/544/Great-Managers-Revolutionary-Insight.aspx

 

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