Caution: This story may be disturbing to some readers.
There were five monkeys that were put into a room. In the center of the room was a ladder at the top of the ladder was a banana hanging from the ceiling.
One of the monkeys saw the banana and started to climb the ladder. As he did all of the monkeys were showered down with icy cold water. Each time a monkey would start climbing the ladder, they all would get showered down with icy cold water.
After awhile they quit trying to go for the banana.
The researcher then took out one of the original monkeys and brought in a new monkey. This little guy sees that banana, starts to climb the ladder … and as he does, the rest of the monkeys run up to him and beat him up and keep him from going for that 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 that monkey that was never showered down by icy cold water.
Finally, the cage had five monkeys of whom none have experienced the icy water treatment. The experimenter then introduced a new monkey to the cage. When this monkey tried to reach for the banana, all five monkeys ran up to him and beat him up and kept him from getting that banana. They had 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.
Over the years, all organizations 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!”
TIP: Once we think we know how something should be done, we keep doing it, then we teach others to do it the same way, and they in turn teach others until eventually you reach a point where no one remembers why something is done a certain way but we keep doing it anyway.
The pace of progress is faster than ever before and we must all learn to remain productive and relevant. As employers search and ask for the information they need, traditional methods are being left behind.
As a learning professional, ask yourself what can you do to evolve, to learn new trends and techniques, and to provide top-quality, cost effective benefits to your learners.