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 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 in the punishment with enthusiasm!
Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a
fourth, and 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 climb the stairs or why they are
participating in the beating of the newest monkey. 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.
Because as far as they know that’s the way it’s always been done
And that, my friends, is how company policy begins.