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Your Monthly Inspirational Newsletter | July 2013

Dear Everyone,

Hi! And how are you all? June has been a very hectic month and I will be glad when the fasting month comes as training is generally quiet during this holy month. I have been watching the Wimbledon tennis championships and I do hope Djokovic will do well and become the men’s champion.

This month I want to narrate a great story on change. There was a monastery in a faraway land where thirty monks lived. Every morning without fail at 5 am, they would all gather at the great hall of the monastery and pray and meditate. One day as they were praying, a cat started to play in front of them and this affected their concentration. The chief monk then told the youngest monk, Zun Zi to tie the cat to a pole and give it a saucer of milk, so that it would not interrupt their prayer session. This was done and the monks carried on their prayer in peace.

The next day, the cat appeared again and the chief monk again told Zun Zi to repeat what he had done the previous day. The third day, the cat appeared again and soon this act of tying the cat to a pole and giving it milk every morning became a ritual. One day, after almost three years of this ritual, the cat died. The monks carried on their prayer the next day but somehow felt something was missing as they had not carried out their usual ‘cat ritual’. At the end of their prayer, the chief monk told Zun Zi to go get another cat from the village below so that they could continue this ‘cat ritual’. And thus the practice continued. This went on and on until the chief monk himself died. Soon Zun Zi became the chief monk, and in the process seven cats had died. One day, Zun Zi himself died, which meant that there was no one alive who knew the origins of this ‘cat ritual’. The ritual however was still carried out.

One day, after their prayers and as they were having tea, one of the younger monks asked the senior most monk, “Sir, why do we tie the cat to the pole and give it a saucer of milk before our daily morning prayer and meditation session?” The senior most monk surprised by the question replied, “I really do not know. All I know is that ever since I came to this monastery we have been doing this and I am sure our past generations must have had very good reasons to do it. So let us not question them, let us just carry on with this very important ritual”.

Isn’t the above story a very true reflection of what happens in many organizations i.e. there are many systems and processes which are obsolete or out-dated and yet they still carry it out because ‘it has always been done this way’. I have personally seen this in many organizations and the excuse has always been, “I didn’t create this system, it was already here when I joined.” My view is that no system or process in any organization is ‘cast in stone’ i.e. all of them can and must be changed when necessary. It is the job of any incumbent manager, head of department or CEO to change whatever is redundant, obsolete or out-dated. This could be from people, to products, to systems and processes, to documentation.

I think however that many managers are usually very comfortable with the status quo and therefore do not make any concerted attempt to change to the detriment of the organization. They normally use inheritance of the system as an excuse. My belief is that every system and process in any organization must be examined on a regular basis and changed if it is not in line with organizational strategies. Only with this can an organization develop and be relevant in the present very competitive business environment!

Thank you so much for reading this newsletter and I do hope I have added a little to your change management knowledge! Have a great month of July and do take care.

HEERA is one of the leading Leadership and Management Trainers in Malaysia with more than a decade of hands-on experience in some of Malaysia's leading conglomerates.

HEERA excels in motivating, inspiring and coaching participants to achieving their full work potential, leading to excellence.

For more information about Heera and his training services, please visit www.heera.com.my

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Heera Singh
Principal Consultant
HEERA Training and Management Consultancy
HP 0126083708