Imagine an organisation as a tree. The tree is occupied by monkeys, and each sits on a branch according to his status in the tree. For the most part, life in the tree ticks along and the monkeys get on well with each other. Occasionally a monkey might move down the tree, or leave altogether. Then there might be a bit of furor as the monkeys beneath jostle to fill the higher, more desirable branch. But calm will return.
Each layer of the monkey tree has a part to play in the overall success of the colony. The top monkeys are on the highest branches. From there, they can scan the forest and spot potential challenges and opportunities for the troop. If they see storm clouds on the horizon, they can spread the word down the tree for everyone to take shelter. They may see another tree has been abandoned, or is vulnerable without a clear leader at the top. Then they might send their troops to attack and expand the colony. So the top monkeys and their immediate generals are focused on the distance, and opportunities and threats from without. But they are not always aware of what’s happening in their own tree.
Down near the ground, the monkeys are not able to see out across the forest. Instead, their view is of the neighbouring trees. Some will see an opportunity in another tree, and so drop off and dash over to the opposition. They may see their fellow monkeys lounging on branches, doing nothing to contribute, but still taking their share of the food. They may see a branch about to fall, threatening a whole slew of monkeys. Down below, they will be the first to see predators circling, about to snap at the lowest branches.
To get themselves heard, the monkeys below will bellow and scream. The monkeys at the top hear this as dissent, and rain down coconuts to quite the unrest. It’s very unlikely that a top monkey will venture down to the bottom to see the cause of the unrest. They took too long getting to the top to risk that someone else may steal their lofty perch.
And so the top monkeys are blissfully unaware of the activity within their colony. They may not realise there is movement on and off the tree at the bottom, that disease may be threatening the tree from within, or a circling predator is picking off the easy to reach branches.
Whenever they need to communicate, they simply look down the tree and shout. When they do so, the monkeys beneath look up. The top monkeys see a sea of upturned smiling faces. They assume their message was heard and understood. What they don’t realise though, is that those smiling faces below hear exactly the same bellowing and screaming that the top monkeys heard earlier. And from their lowly perches, they don’t see smiling faces when they look up. They just see a whole bunch of dicks and ar*eholes (this being a sexist troop), and they fear they will be the next to be crapped on from above.
AtoZ Challenge – Mmmmm