Musings from the CU Suite

Feb 07, 2012

Watch out for that monkey...

Written by Anthony Demangone

Somewhere, within NAFCU's halls, Fred Becker is smiling.  Because this management article (Harvard Business Review) might just be his favorite.  If you don't want to spring for the purchase, the authors also wrote this magazine article (Bloomberg Business Week) based on the original. 

In short, within any organizations, there are problems.  It could be a thorny decision. Or how to properly launch of a new product or service.  In the article, the authors describe problems or projects as "monkeys."  Most organizations have quite a few monkeys, it would seem.  NAFCU surely does.  I'd be surprised if your credit union doesn't have a few as well. 

Too many managers, the article argues, allow monkeys that belong to subordinates, to leap onto their desks.  The subordinate's problem is now their problem. 

You're racing down the hall. An employee stops you and says, "We've got a problem." You assume you should get involved but can't make an on-the-spot decision. You say, "Let me think about it."

You've just allowed a "monkey" to leap from your subordinate's back to yours. You're now working for your subordinate. Take on enough monkeys, and you won't have time to handle your real job: fulfilling your own boss's mandates and helping peers generate business results.

How do you return the monkeys to their rightful owners?  The magazine article shows you how.   

Now, not all monkeys are bad.  Here's a picture of one of my favorites.  

My Monkey

Have a great week, guys!