Put the Monkey where it belongs

March 1, 2010 at 6:45 am | Posted in Systems Improvement | Leave a comment

In response to my last blog, a collegue of mine made a comment that Open items are like monkeys on your shoulder. So the best way forward is to get them off your back – finish a task that must be done.

This Monkey business has other connotations too. We should be careful about allowing a Monkey to get on our shoulder. Quite often we commit to do something without giving it a due thought. Result is that we may or may not be able to fulfill the commitment. If we are lucky we may. Otherwise we fill guilty about it. Even if we don’t enough to feel bad about it, still our reputation takes a beating.

While interacting with others, it is quite easy to accept to help somebody with his problem. But unless we are careful, it soon becomes our problem. The person who quite innocently came to us asking for help has tactfully transfered the Monkey from his shoulder to ours without us being even aware of it. In such cases it is important to make it clear that you would only help him to solve his problem but it is still his problem.

There is a nice article “Monkey management” at http://workstar.net/library/monkey.htm It covers various aspects of effectively dealing with people who work with us. You may like to have a look.


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