Modern business wisdom from the Dakota Indians

Posted by on October 15, 2009 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

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This is about the tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, Modern Corporate wisdom and then ‘the world according to Jianele’ follows at the end, because I was reminded that no matter how creative and ‘reasonable’ our excuses seem, we sometimes have to make difficult decisions in order to succeed.


Tribal Wisdom of the Dakota Indians

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation says that, “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.”


Modern Corporate Wisdom unveiled

In today’s corporate world, a whole range of far more advanced strategies are often employed including:

1.      Buying a stronger whip

2.      Changing Riders

3.      Threatening the horse with termination

4.      Appointing a committee to study the horse

5.      Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses

6.      Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included

7.      Reclassifying the dead horse as “living impaired”

8.      Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse

9.      Harnessing several dead horses together to increase the speed

10.  Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance

11.  Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance

12.  Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses

13.  Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses

14.  Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position


And now, the tough application in modern business….

As I read this, I considered how often we find excuses for ‘dead horses’ – how we are able to put-off making difficult but necessary decisions.  We often justify unsatisfactory performance of redundant technology and processes, off-track projects, people whose talents and skills don’t match their position and suppliers who no longer understand and meet our needs – with creative ‘reasons why and why-not’.  The effects of this are far-reaching and can be very costly.


So, If you have a difficult decision to make about ‘dead horses’, remember that in your environment they are already ‘dead’ – they probably ‘died’ waiting, nay (excuse the pun) wanting to be released in order to use their talents to grow, thrive and shine somewhere else.


Often it is the difficult decisions that free us, others and our businesses to succeed.  Stop throwing away hard-earned money on excuses, invest in the finest form of stress reduction – out with the ‘dead horses’ – invest in new systems, talent and resources, and allow your business to come alive and grow!

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