Monkey Business …

Not My Circus

We have all seen and probably repeated this rather amusing and way too useful meme about monkeys and circuses.

I see this most often employed to illustrate a common organizational issue of observing behavior exhibited by others which is harmful, but over which we seem to have little or no control.

At the worst, we use this meme to graphically describe the attitude of many in organizations that they are not going to deal with inappropriate or non-productive behavior.  Apparently it is easier to just stand at a distance and make disparaging remarks, rather than wade into possibly dangerous waters and try to address poor behavior.

Let me offer a slight adjustment to this meme, as noted below:

Same Circus

I believe the above to be more accurate …

If we are in the same organization, we all belong to that circus.  Distancing ourselves by saying that something else is not our problem is deluding ourselves about the nature of professional relationships.

If we are in the same circus, we do have a vested interest in the wellbeing and productivity of the folks in the other cages.  We are part of a system.

When “stuff” piles up in one cage, it permeates the area, spilling into the larger shared area without much real regard for silos or organizational charts.  Think of it as a disease turning us all into zombies, even if we try to pretend that it is none of our concern.

One Caveat:  The original meme has great value for situations where we are inappropriately intruding into another’s domain or expending energy worrying about things which are not ours about which to worry.

However, my earlier observation stands that we are more often just avoiding that which should be dealt with for the good of all than meddling.

Think about this some … I will have more to say in another post about how to determine when and how to address the situation in another cage (or even in your own cage:).

Trying not to avoid, evade, or deflect important issues in the Heartland ….


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