Inertia Explained

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage hang a banana on a string from the top, placing a set of stairs under the banana. Before long a monkey will go to the stairs and start climbing towards the banana. As soon as the monkey touches the stairs, spray all the other monkeys with cold water.

After a while, when another monkey makes the same attempt, spray all the other monkeys with cold water. Soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put the cold water away.

Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new monkey.

The new monkey will spot the banana and will attempt to climb the stairs. To the new monkey's shock, all of the other monkeys will attack him. Any new attempt to reach the banana will produce another attack. Soon the new monkey learns if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted. 

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one. The newcomer will go to the stairs and will be attacked .

 And the previous newcomer will take part in the punishment - with enthusiasm.

Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then the fifth. Each time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked. Note: most of the monkeys who are assaulting the new monkey have no idea why they are not permitted to climb the stairs. Nor do they know why they are participating in the assault on the newest monkey.

Note also: having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway to the banana.

Why, you ask?

Because in their minds - that’s the way it is and has always been!

This is what the leadership culture is like in some organizations - and why sometimes all of the monkeys may need to be replaced - at the same time.

Unlike the monkeys, don't make the mistake of assuming things can't change. 

Become part of the change process!