Thursday, January 10, 2002

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."
Mark Twain

Heres a forward that I got about how a company policy is made, which is very true as to how social norms, customs also evolve.
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 toward the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water.

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

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him.
After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a
new one.
The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part enthusiastically.
Continue replacing the monkeys one by one, and watch the attacks continue, though none of the monkeys by now understands why.

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

And that is how company policy or any superstitions or customs begin.


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