Everyone knows herding cats is impossible, right?
Quite often this is a metaphor used to apply to NGO’s and voluntary organisations, bureaucracies, particularly local government, farmers, and children. Getting them to one place, at one time, in an organised and disciplined manner seems impossible.
I have used it plenty of times, not always kindly.
However, a recent experience has led me to a different conclusion, cats are actually pretty easy to herd, it just requires a bit of good management.
- Make sure they are hungry
- Show them a feed.
It is the same with any of the metaphorical cats. Make sure they are hungry for what you have, can deliver, or represent, then demonstrate how to get to the prize.
Mostly people are motivated by things other than money and rules that dictate their behavior, offering responsibility and accountability for their actions, and a reason why things need to happen in a particular way goes a long way towards herding them. However, it is not really herding, as you need to be out in front persuading the “cats” by one means or another, to follow.
It is simply called “leadership”, and leaders are not always the ones at the top of the now almost redundant, formal, old fashioned management pyramid. Now they are those that care, put themselves out beyond their comfort zone, confront scared cows and take a photo of the elephant in the rooom and throw darts at it.