Herding Cats

Herding Cats

Warren Bennis popularized the concept of herding cats in his book Managing People is Like Herding Cats (1997). Since that time, the phrase "herding cats" has come to refer to attempts made at organizing disparate team members to work collaboratively towards achievement of a common goal. If the "cats" in your organization each seem to be wondering off in pursuit of their own agenda, a team building experience in herding may provide the needed intervention to develop insight into this behaviour.

Take your teams out to the countryside for first hand experience in learning to handle a working sheep dog. Sheep dogs are used to herd sheep, cattle, ducks, chickens, or any group of farm animals that need to be rounded up and headed towards a common destination.

Your team members will learn to handle a trained sheep dog that is tasked with rounding up a herd and corralling them. This lesson in persistence and patience will teach team members to use a set of commands to direct the dog's movements, and assist him/her in getting the entire herd penned and secured.

Teams can compete to see which team can secure the herd in the shortest time period.

Following the herding experience, teams will be debriefed to surface the specific lessons learned. Observations made about the dog's temperament and techniques will be instructive in helping team members notice what it takes to pull together to accomplish a predetermined outcome.

Examining the manner in which each team handled the dog, and the stress of the situation, will serve as visible examples of effective methods to be used when working with resistive others.

Or you could herd animals of a different kind with some Human Sheep Herding!! Each team will elect a shepherd who must guide the blindfolded team member dressed as sheep safely into a pen. The teams communication skills will be put to the test with this comical event.

A little fun, sun, and fresh country air will rejuvenate the team, and allow each team member to demonstrate the patience and persistence needed to meet corporate challenges.


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