Productivity: Tending to Your Flock – The Right Way


Babe Principle Tend to Your Flock

So way back when I had first begun this site, I wrote a short entry called People Are Sheep.


This piece was a musing of mine of how the simplest suggestion could have profound effects on the people around you. It can cause a human movement in fact. So, if this is what we all naturally tend to do, then why not leverage it for everyone’s benefit?

Consider for a moment the process of herding sheep. Typically, the sheep dog gets out into the paddock and rounds them up and guides them to where the farmer wants them to go. As one sheep is compelled to move in a particular direction, the others follow suit. This is a survival mechanism. Sheep feel safer in flocks than they do on their own.

Now, if we apply the herding sheep process to the office, we get something along the lines of this: The Manager wants to take the team in a new, productive direction. He enlists the assistance of the Team Leader to gather the team into one place and encourage them to all head in the same direction.

Enter the ‘Babe’ principle

Babe was an Australian film released in 1995. The movie follows a young pig who grows up believing that he is a sheep dog and learns that the best way to get the movement he needs from the farmer’s flock is to relate to them, to speak with consideration and respect, to ask them what the best way is (because no-one knows sheep like sheep) and the result is a successful sheep trial and a happy experience for the Farmer, The “Sheep Dog” and the flock.

What I’m saying is that The Team Leader and Manager both need to be part of the flock. They can’t be running around, barking orders and doing their own thing while they expect their flock to follow another path. They need to lead them in the direction they desire. This is called team work.

The importance here is that unless your flock feel like you’re one of them, on their side, then the movement is not as successful as you would like and you may end up with an unhappy flock and sheep dog, resulting is less productivity than before.

So next time you’re looking to implement a movement in your business, consider getting in on the “ground level” and talking to your flock, sheep to sheep. It will arm you with the insights you need to build a strategy around improving performance and ultimately, lead your flock into a more productive, happier direction for everyone.

Your Most Important Employee: How to Improve Their Performance

I believe that every role within an organisation is important because quite frankly, if there’s a person allocated to do the work, it has to be important otherwise the job wouldn’t exist.

But which role do you think is the most important? In any business?

When someone asked a colleague of mine many years ago what she does for living, she replied with “I’m just a receptionist”. Just’ a receptionist!???

I stepped in immediately because I know full well that there is no such thing as ‘just‘ a receptionist. What struck me most was that this person felt like she was a “nobody” in the organisation, that her job wasn’t important and that ultimately her role was just to answer phones. And to be honest, this started showing in her attitude toward not only the title but to her work and her interactions with her colleagues and eventually to clients too.

Most people don’t realise it however, your receptionist is perhaps the single most important role in your business. How they represent your company, your staff and yourself is critical to business success. But how do they know that their role is this important? The fact is that most of them don’t know it and that’s because it’s never really been communicated that way.

I’d like to pose these questions:

Is your receptionist just a receptionist?
What do you expect of them?
What is the priority of their role?
Are they achieving those expectations?
Are they exceeding them?
If not, do they understand how important their role is? and
If they don’t understand, how can you convey it to them so that they are able to take more pride in their work and their interactions with their colleagues?

Lastly, I’d like you to consider changing the title “Receptionist” for those uniquely fantastic front of house people who live and breathe what it means to be in the most important role of any organisation – promote them to the title of “Director of First Impressions” and see how their attitude, their work and their ability to make the right impressions for your clients (both internal and external) improve beyond their already outstanding performance.