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
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 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. Why not? Because as far as they
know that’s the way it’s always been done around here.
And that, my friends, is how a company policy begins.