In my last post, “Life Outside the Fences” I introduced you to the concept of an organization made up of sheep, wolves and a new addition: sheep dogs.
Tonight I want to elaborate on that concept and dive into the minds of the wolves.
First, how do you define who is a wolf? You can’t absent your perspective on the person.
To a low level employee, everyone may appear as wolves, committed to keeping them fenced in and brutalized every moment.
To a mid level manager, maybe those below are sheep and above are wolves.
I’ve found an interesting curiosity in organizations. Those people who most seem like wolves often are just sad little sheep and you can see it if you can shift your perspective.
Imagine a local vice president lording over his factory or regional distribution center. To all, or most, at his location he is the alpha wolf. No one is his equal. Yet, if he were visiting the corporate headquarters where everyone is a vice president of something, wouldn’t he look like just another sheep fitting himself inside the fences his bosses have built for him?
In the military they tell the same tale, but it is about the number of Admirals and Generals at the Pentagon. In the field Admirals and Generals are rare and precious, the alpha wolves of their commands. At the Pentagon they are coffee runners for those Admirals and Generals with more stars on their shoulders. It’s a curious thing to see, if you ever get to see it, how the power system shifts depending on where you stand. It’s especially telling to look at an organization not from within the organization, but outside, observing it.
Back to the point for tonight: Getting into the minds of the wolves and winning.
If you are a sheep dog and you want to be your most successful, assume that everyone sees you as a wolf until you can convince them otherwise. No matter the rank of the person you are talking to, from the entry level worker to the president of the company, if you are outside the fences, you are first and foremost a wolf.
Also assume that everyone in your organization is, if you could get the right perspective, a sheep in someone else’s eyes.
That means these wolves/sheep will be watching your behaviors with a curiosity towards your motives. Do you want to become their boss and create fences for them? Do you want to take their sheep away? What are you after? How will you hurt them?
Because of these questions they will closely watch you, watching how you treat people, how you share your ideas, how you celebrate others, and so much more.
Your power, under their watchful eyes, is in using this grand opportunity to lead them by example, walking your talk and showing through your actions your commitment to driving change.
You may be the first one who’s ever shown these fearful wolf/sheep a kinder way to lead change.
Don’t be shocked if they get in your face, telling you that you are behaving like all the other wolves, driving people to change, even when you aren’t.
In this case I can truly say that it’s not you; it’s them.
In the face of their attacks, don’t be swayed to abandon your driving change behaviors. Don’t be moved to resort to their tactics of threats, intimidation and coercion. Stick to what you know works: driving change.
Teach those wolves (who are often sheep too) that you are there for them and their success too.
You’ll surprise yourself at how much you’ll get done.
Why not try?