Bring Your Brain to Work!

I used to work with a fellow named Rick Tate, who talked about studying people who trained seeing-eye dogs. What they found was that they kick two kinds of dogs out of the program: The first kind were the ones who were completely obedient, who would do anything that the master said. That was really kind of surprising because you would have thought that the only ones they would kick out would be the ones who wouldn’t do anything that the master said. But they kicked out both kinds.  The only dogs they kept in the program were the dogs who would do what the master said unless it didn’t make sense. They kept the dogs that could think for themselves. I think that’s what we as leaders should always try to do—get everybody to think for themselves. Sure, we have some guidelines, here’s what our policy is and all, but use your brains. You can imagine a seeing-eye dog with his master at the street corner, and the master says, “Forward,” and the dog looks up and there’s a car coming at sixty miles an hour. And the dog thinks, “This is gonna be a real bummer,” as he leads his master out into the middle of the street. So we want to empower people to use their brains – train them to do what the boss wants, or what the policies are, unless it doesn’t make sense. That’s really allowing people to bring their brains to work. So don’t get hit by a car! Use your brain today.

6 thoughts on “Bring Your Brain to Work!

  1. Ken,

    Insightful, and a great lesson! This is similar to some of the comments I made yesterday when using your name as a “write-in” in multiple categories for voting for the National Speakers Association top speakers poll. I’m sure I won’t sway the results, but Ken Blanchard’s name needed to be listed in categories like Management, Team Building, etc.

    Thank you for continuing to “Wow” us with your knowledge, experience, insight, and phenomenal talent to reduce the complex to the simple, so we can more completely understand what we need to get results.

  2. As a donor of a dog to the Guide Dogs for the Blind, I get this big time… as a rebel in general I love this… I have a brain!!

  3. Always loved your deep insights.
    Grateful that you share so that we all can learn and become better in serving for the greater good. One point, though, org’s need secure environments to encourage this. Small masters may react in not so smart ways when confronted with other people’s thinking.

  4. The article never states if it is possible to screen the dogs for their ability to think prior to entering the program or is this attribute something that is observed once the dog is in the program and is dropped (as soon as possible, after some evaluation, etc.) as it progresses through the training program.

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