The Monkey Story – Developing Procedures

The Monkey Story

It seems that there was a research project in which the scientists used four monkeys, a ladder and a banana. They put the four monkeys in a room with the ladder and put the banana on top of the ladder.

As monkeys will, the first monkey smelled the banana and started up the ladder. When he got half way up, the scientists turned on a water cannon filled with ice cold water. The cannon knocked the first monkey off the ladder and then iced down the other three monkeys. The monkeys huddled in the room shivering from the cold bath.

After a while, once the monkeys had warmed up, a second monkey smelled the banana and started up the ladder. Again, the water cannon came on, knocked her off the ladder and iced down the other monkeys for good measure.

When the third monkey started to go up the ladder for the banana, the other three monkeys grabbed him and beat the “you know what” out of the errant monkey. The scientists were quite surprised to see that behavior. They decided to introduce a new element into the experiment.

One of the monkeys was removed from the room and replaced by a new monkey. Before long, the new monkey smelled the banana and headed up the ladder. Sure enough, the other three monkeys grabbed the new monkey pulled her down and beat the tar out of her.

The scientists again replaced one of the first group of monkeys and the scenario repeated itself. They kept replacing monkeys until all of the original monkeys who had been iced down were gone.

When the new monkey went for the banana, guess what happened?  That’s right, the rest of the monkeys taught the new monkey not to go for the banana!  And none of them knew why they did it any more!

Is this how procedures are developed at your business?

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