Friday, March 04, 2005
Don't touch the bananas!!!!
Don't touch the bananas!!!!!
It is always amazing to see how exposure to an environment, or culture, can change how we think without us even knowing – I guess this is called conditioning. New ideas always rely on those individuals who can see reality without the blinkers.
The truth however is not always welcome and it is always easier to go along. As Oscar Wilde once said, ‘The truth makes you very unpopular at the club.’
This is why real leadership is so scarce in any situation. Real courage is required.
The analogy of the monkeys in a cage is a case in point. Put five monkeys in cage, hang a bunch of bananas just out of reach on a string. As soon as a monkey begins to reach for the bananas spray all the monkeys with cold water. Keep this up until all the monkeys have been sprayed lots of times. Pretty soon if a monkey goes to reach for the bananas the others try to prevent it.
Now put away the water away and remove one monkey and replace it with new one. The new monkey will see the bananas and will reach out for them. To his surprise and horror all the other monkeys will attack him. After a few attempts he soon learns to leave the bananas alone.
Now remove another of the original monkeys and introduce another new one. Once again the assaults begin soon as the new monkey reaches for the bananas and the newcomer joins in with enthusiasm! Continue until all the original monkeys are replaced. The beatings continue if a newcomer reaches for the bananas although now none of the monkeys have any idea why that they are not permitted to grab the bananas!
None of the monkeys now have ever been sprayed with water. No monkey ever again approaches the bananas. Why not? Because as far as they know ‘that’s the way it has always been around here’?
That my friends is how dysfunctional systems develop – including schools.
Leaders need the courage to question every assumption that has been taken for granted but they will need to face up having cold water tossed on their ideas.