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SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to Perform at Your Productive Best by Laura Stack

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Chapter 28. Monkey See, Monkey Do

SUPERCOMPETENT Hero Thinking:

I am creative and open to change; I always seek better solutions.

SIMPLY COMPETENT Zero Thinking:

We've always done things this way, so there's got to be a good reason for it. Who am I to try to make a change?

Start with a cage containing five apes. Hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, an ape will wander over to the stairs and climb toward the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all the apes with cold water. The ape will quickly climb down. After a while, another ape will make an attempt with the same result: All the apes are sprayed with cold water. Continue until another ape tries to climb the stairs. Eventually, the other apes will prevent their buddies from climbing the stairs, seemingly the cause of the water.

Now turn off the cold water. Remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new ape sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all the other apes attack him! After another attempt and another attack, he knows if he tries to climb the stairs, he'll be assaulted. Next, remove another of the original five apes 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. Again, replace a third original with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four ape bullies have no idea why they weren't permitted to climb the ...

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