Monday, June 08, 2009

Wisdom: When Riding a Dead Horse, Dismount

This is really old. In fact, it's an email that I printed out back in 2001 that I found while straightening my office. Since I enjoyed reading it again, I thought you might like it, too.

According to the ancient tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, when you discover you're riding a dead horse, your best move is to dismount. However, many of us in today's government and business world seem reluctant to acknowledge that our plans and strategies aren't working. Instead of dismounting, we try a variety of tactics in an attempt to breathe some life into those dead horses, including the following:

  1. Buying a stronger whip.
  2. Changing riders.
  3. Threatening the horse with termination.
  4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
  5. Visiting other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
  6. Lowering the standards to include dead horses.
  7. Reclassifying the dead horse as "living-impaired."
  8. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
  9. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
  10. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance.
  11. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
  12. Declaring that the dead horse requires less overhead and therefore contributes more to the bottom line.
  13. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.
  14. Promoting the dead horse to management.


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