Herding Cats is a popular advertisement that is often used to illustrate the complexity of managing business change. We think it’s about people and destination.
Cat Herders is a popular advertisement that is often used to illustrate the complexity of managing business change.
Cat Herders Is About the Destination
But I think we often lose the most important point about cat herders.
Herding cats isn’t a race.
Business change is not a competition, and the prize isn’t always about getting across the finish line first.
Business change projects are rather like a cattle drive, where the goal is to complete the journey in time and with the herd reaching its destination in tip-top condition. It is a commercial undertaking.
It is about achieving your goals.
Cat herders complete the drive in stages and exercise control, so everyone makes progress together. What’s more, the trail boss takes stock after each shift. But I won’t take the analogy too far, I’ll leave that to the video.
We have removed YouTube videos from The Lazy Leader because their embedded videos do not respect GDPR and data privacy. You can watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U84gIyyRvnU. Deleting cookies after every browser session is recommended.
Cat Herders Is About the People
For he will do as he will do, and there’s no doing anything about it. When you let him in, then he wants out; he’s always in the wrong side of the door. – T. S. Elliot, Rum Tum Tugger
Managing People Is Like Herding Cats by Warren Bennis helped to popularize the term ‘herding cats’. He said, “Be humble. Stop trying to herd cats and start building trust and mutual respect. Your cats will respond. They will sense your purpose, keep your business purring, and even kill your rats.”
Lazy leaders have vision with intention, which sets direction and leads to a goal. Lazy leaders have drive and determination. But they also conduct themselves with uncompromising integrity and honesty.
This is what herding cats is about.
What do you learn from cat herders? You are welcome to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.