Wednesday, April 15, 2009

THE ANT

As you may already know, I am not a prolific blogger. Nevertheless, I came across an interesting adapted fable, reputedly Portuguese, by one PR Obrigado Mario that prompted me to post on my organization's e-mail. The responses that came back indicated that there was some degree of transferability. People could relate to the fable. For example, one said "Interesting, very familiar. Seems like a lived experience". Another remarked, “Sounds like an innuendo. There are some truths in it, perhaps”.

Apart from the translatability, one person inquired, "So who are the ants in our organization"? Now this question set me thinking. Are there really ants in an organization? More often than not, perhaps people in organizations are more like the cockroaches and cicadas in the fable. For that matter, does the lion really exist?

Now let’s see what you think about the fable.

Everyday a small ant arrives at work very early and starts work immediately. The ant produces a lot and it was happy. The Chief, a lion was surprised to see that the ant was working without a supervisor. Wouldn’t the ant produce even more if it had a supervisor?

So the lion recruited a cockroach who had extensive experience as a supervisor and who was well known for writing excellent reports. The cockroach’s first decision was to set up a clocking-in attendance system. The cockroach also needed a secretary to type up its reports and thus recruited a spider, who managed the archives and monitored all phone calls.

The lion was delighted with the cockroach’s reports and asked the cockroach to produce graphs to describe production rates and to analyze trends, so that the lion can use them for presentations at the Board’s meetings. So the cockroach had to buy a computer and a laser printer, and recruited a fly to manage the IT department.

The ant who had once been so productive and relaxed, hated the new plethora of paper work and meetings which used up most of the ant’s time. Then, the lion came to a conclusion it was high time to nominate a person in charge of the department where the ant worked. The position was given to a cicada, whose first decision was to buy a carpet and an ergonomic chair for its office.

The new person in charge, the cicada, also needed a computer and a personal assistant who it brought from its previous department, to help prepare a Work and Budget Control Strategic Optimism Plan. The department where the ant worked is now a sad place, where nobody laughs anymore and everybody has become upset. It was that time that the cicada convinced the boss, the lion, of the absolute necessity to start a climatic study of the environment.

Having reviewed the costs of running the department, the lion found out that the production was much less than before. So the lion recruited the owl, a prestigious and renowned consultant to carry out an audit and suggest solutions. The owl spent three months in the department and came up with an enormous report in several volumes, that concluded “The department is overstaffed”.

Guess who the lion fires first? The ant of course, “because it showed lack of motivation and had a negative attitude”.

49 comments:

  1. salam all...in my opinion...the diligent, humble, hardworking ant would be better appreciated if the boss is the same 'species' . Not necessarily an ant, but someone who shares the same vision and mission. Perhaps the day will come when anothe 'ant' will rule the organization.
    I have seen many 'lions' through my journey as a staff....and cicadas as well....first on the to-do-list would be new curtains,flower pots...etc...(girls stuff...)

    The ant should remain patient...but a change in job could also be good.Eg : managing own business such as laundrette, florist...pajak gadai(???) hehehehe main-main je...

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  2. Hmmm...the lion fired the ant, huh? Not wise a chief he is! The ant is the workhorse, who's going to do all the dirty jobs now to bring in money, huh? The cockroach, cicada and the owl should be out!!! Things were doing well before all of them came in. Wrong decisions must be corrected... fuh...emotional plak!! heheheee...

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  3. It is an interesting fable. I think small ants are like new postgraduates, who are employed as beginner workers with high motivation, and who are happy with their new life. The problem started from the Lion or chief, because he hadn’t enough information about management and leadership. In fact his diagnosis was poor. His reorganization of symptoms and evaluations were inaccurate. Initially the ant worked without any problems. Instead of recruiting other people, the lion should, through meetings, share his opinions with employees, and encourage them to give suggestions on how to maximize production…… Of course when the new recruits have a lot of facility, it led to comparative and polluted climates. On the other hand, the cockroach, cicada, spider, consultant are all necessary to the organization. I think the lion should change his concepts and interpersonal skills so that he would be able to identify and understand the problem that led to overstaffing.Mitra

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  4. the ant could also be a veteran staff mitra...a master in his area..I know a lioness who started as an ant.As diligent and friendly as she may be, she turned into a monster once she is a lion.it shocked even the bestest of friends. The question is, what changed her to be that way?She is still hardworking..hardworking in delegating work that is.
    For me...i prefer to be a small fish in a big pond rather than be a big fish in a small pond...what about u guys?

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  5. as much as we want to stay the way we are, we can't deny that sometimes our work mould the way we think and act. but if we hold on tightly to our guiding principles - what matters most - it is not easy to shake the beings that are in ourselves. hmm..zil, what about big fish in a big pond? i think the big fish wouldn't realise that it's a big fish if the pond is really huge and there are other big fishes around...from different kinds and colours...i've seen this happened...this will really teach the big fish some humility...what do you think, doc..?

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  6. The big one that got away? That is just a fisherman's tale.

    How big can one really get?

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  7. How big can one really get?
    everything is relative...for a humble teacher like me...a principal is considered a big fish already...in our line...if one cud reach JUSA then...thats considered BIG....really BIG...

    sometimes it got me thinking...am i happier now , a bigger fish, compared to 15 years ago when i was an anchovy?hmmmmm.....again...happiness is also relative....

    East...given the choice....which one wud u choose? i dont think being a big fish suits me... just cant imagine myself up there....imagine if i am the TNC...whoaaaa....thats really BIGGGGG!!!! i prefer to stay in this small aquarium....thank u...

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  8. ooppss..it's been a while, sorry nani, let me answer this now ya.. given the choice, i'd rather be a big fish in a small pond that can open doors to others to grow and become big, or bigger than me, so that they can swim to other bigger ponds..that's a real satisfaction...and i'd love to remain there.. dont wanna be a small fish..afraid that i wont be heard.. so, a big fish in a small pond is sufficient for me.. Doc, awat senyap je nihh?? Cuti kaaa? Khob Khun kaarp...

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  9. salam all
    hehehhhheeehhh east...sojak balik phuket ni....lupa plak bagi salam ek....
    i wud like to ask all friends to pray for dr jane's mom's operation on friday 15th may 2009 at taiping hosp...hope it will be a succesful operation...Dr jane...be strong...ur mom will be just okay...insyaAllah...Amin.

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  10. assalamualaikum wbt...aduh..sakit!
    my prayers go to dr. jane's mom...she's a fighter..everything's gonna be okay.. dr.jane, tho i haven't got the chance to know you, i've read your phd thesis.. be strong, and i know that's what you do best..!

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  11. dr Kidin...happy teachers day...u r my xifu forever!!!

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  12. salam frenz...dr jane's mum is in ICU in Taiping Hosp....please pray for her...TQ

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  13. Dear friends,
    i wud like to convey a message that Dr Jane's mom passed away peacefully on Thursday at the Taiping Hospital. Dr jane wud like to thank all for your prayers.

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  14. 脾氣與嘴巴不好,就算心地再好,也不算好人~~~..................................................

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  15. 幸福是人人都要,又怎麼可能都歸你所有?要知道這世界幸福本來就不多........................................

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  16. 很棒的分享~~~來留個言囉~~~~.................................................................                           

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  17. 人生有些波折,才能有些成長,所以不論順逆,凡是成長、成功的助緣,都應該心存感激。..................................................

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  18. 唯有用熱情、用智慧去觀察事物,這事物才會把他的秘密,洩漏給我們............................................................

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  19. 只有尋常才幹,但具有不尋常恆心的人,一切皆可獲取................................................

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  20. 在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」..................................................

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