Harnessing Dead Horses

not wanting to change

Have you heard about the saying “Harnessing Dead Horses”

Earlier this year, I was at a business seminar in the UAE. There I learned about 21 special techniques that organizations and businesses use to deny their true state of failure. In other words, there reality as I would put it. However I decided to compare their corporate failures and not acting upon the lessons learned to harnessing dead horses. In other words, the following list is a sad and accurate commentary on denial in its various forms and manifestations:

Harnessing Dead Horses

  • Buying a stronger whip.
  • Changing riders.
  • Say things like, “This is the way we have always ridden this horse.”
  • Appointing a committee to study the horse.
  • Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
  • Increasing the standards to ride dead horses.
  • Appointing a tiger team to revive the dead horse.
  • Creating a training session to increase our riding ability.
  • Comparing the state of dead horses in today’s environment.
  • Change the requirements declaring that “This horse is not dead.”
  • Hire contractors to ride the dead horse.
  • Harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed.
  • Declaring that “No horse is too dead to beat.”
  • Providing additional funding to increase the horse’s performance.
  • Do a Cost Analysis study to see if contractors can ride it cheaper.
  • Purchase a product to make dead horses run faster.
  • Declare the horse is “better, faster and cheaper” dead.
  • Form a quality circle to find uses for dead horses.
  • Revisit the performance requirements for horses.
  • Say this horse was procured with cost as an independent variable.
  • Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

I just can’t believe the insight and accuracy of these observations. Please share your stories of business denial and corporate stupidity below in the comment section.

Let’s Look At The Facts of Harnessing Dead Horses

According to Gallup research, which was done worldwide from 2005 to 2018, only 13 percent of employees were actively engaged in their work, that leaves a staggering 87% of the workforce as disengaged.

So, let me put it into a little more perspective for you. For instance, out of the 100 people who are in your already sinking ship, only 13 of them are rowing and trying to save the ship. In other words, the rest are either sitting back and watching. For instance, the majority of them had this couldn’t care less attitude, and some of them are even helping to drill bigger holes in the boat. In conclusion, those are the actively disengaged ones.

One major negative influencer of employee engagement and organizational morale is corporate denial. Corporate denial is the classic “elephant in the room” of your organization: everyone in the company knows it exists, yet no one in a position of leadership is willing to address it.

Reality Check concerning Harnessing Dead Horses…

As the saying goes, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. Unfortunately, corporate business denial is alive and well right here in our community. So it’s time to ask yourself the following:

  1. Where is your business in denial? What is your business not being honest about? What honest assessments need to be made, and which steps need to be taken to transform the culture of your business into a more positive one?
  2. Which mistakes are you personally making that you need to accept responsibility for, and take corrective action to eliminate?
  3. Who are the people acting as roadblocks to positive change?
  4. Which people are showing unproductive behaviours that get in the way of company morale and success? In other words, see how a change management process could get these employees on board with you again. However, it’s sad to say, but they will have to go. They are dead fish.
  5. In conclusion, who are the change agents in your organization/business? These are people who you can bring together to have these difficult conversations. Therefore they can support the change process from strategic point and collaborate to transform your business’s culture.

So, In Conclusion…

Just like in relationships, it’s time to stop ignoring all the clear signs of a sinking ship, and start to address them, taking on one issue at a time. But the key is to start. Keep an eye out for my next blog where I dive a little more into employee engagement and possible strategies to improve both morale and employee engagement.

Again, please could I ask for you to share your stories of business denial and corporate stupidity below in the comment section below: The more issues we know about, the better solutions we can come up with.

Cheers for now,

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