My brother, Lloyd Williamson (who works for a large corporation which we won't name under the circumstances) tells us how it all starts:
Monkey Business: How Company Policy Begins
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 towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After awhile, 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 in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original
monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest
monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating
him have no idea why they were not permitted to
After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have 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 the way it's always been done around here. And that, my friends, is how company policy begins.
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