Researchers put five monkeys in a room. In the middle of the room was a ladder. At the top of the ladder was a banana hanging from the ceiling.
Eventually one of the monkeys spotted the banana and climbed the ladder. As he did, he was showered with ice cold water. Not only that – the remaining four monkeys received the same punishment and heavily doused with the freezing cold water.
Every time a monkey would start climbing the ladder, they all would get showered down with the water. After awhile they quit trying to go for the banana.
The researchers then removed one of the original monkeys and brought in a new monkey. This one sees the banana, starts to climb the ladder… and as he does, the rest of the monkeys run up to him and beat him up to keep him from going for the banana.
It isn’t long before he realizes these other monkeys are not going to let him get that banana so he stops trying.
A second of the original monkeys is taken out and a new monkey is brought in. He sees the ladder, sees the banana, and starts to go for it. The rest of the monkeys beat him up and keep him from getting there including the monkey that was never showered down by icy cold water.
Eventually - the cage has five monkeys who have never experienced the cold water treatment.
The researcher then introduces a new monkey to the cage. When this monkey tries to reach for the banana, all five monkeys ran up to him and beat him up and kept him from getting the banana.
They have no idea why they were beating up the new guy and preventing him from getting the banana… they just knew – that’s how it’s done around here.
None of these monkeys knew about the punishment of icy water, none knew why they are not allowed to get the banana, but somewhere along the way they learned that reaching for the banana is not allowed. They become the guardians of this rule without knowing its purpose.
Companies develop routines, habits and practices. Very often, nobody actually remembers why they were started in the first place … it’s simply a matter of “That’s the way we’ve always done it!”
Bringing someone new into your company, like a coach - can bring a fresh perspective. As a business owner … it is very difficult to see the big picture when you are standing inside the frame.
If your business (or you) is in a rut … time may have conditioned you. You may be too close to the problem. Bringing in an outside can bring fresh perspective to old problems.