Complacency and Caterpillars


OK, where is he (me) going with this one? Can he do it? What business lesson could he be creating? IKR.


The well-known French naturalist Jean Henri Fabre’ studied the processionary caterpillar through varied experiments. For example, he created a line of caterpillars, placed touching head to tail with the caterpillar in front of them. The line formed a circle around a pot. The pot was removed, and the caterpillar’s favorite food was place in the middle of the empty circle. The caterpillars began to move in the circular pattern they were placed in. They went in this circle for seven days; only inches from their favorite food, thinking the caterpillar in front of them would lead them to food (only inches away.) After a week some began to drop from exhaustion and starvation. They were behavior shaped to continue to do what they had been doing.


If you check the dictionary, complacency is “being accepting of, being uncritical of the status quo of what may be “the norm” and is possibly accepted by others as good enough”.


It’s in the acceptance of the status quo with the mistaken presumption that “if it was accepted by others”, or “it was good but not really good or not great” to mean it “is good-enough” has a double-edge. Complacency can be acceptance of mediocrity.


It’s been said, we often confuse motion with meaning and activity with achievement.


Like the processionary caterpillar, if you accept “doing anything" is to be acceptable, then you may be removing “motivation” and meaning from your work-life. And, Oh, by the way, from the workplace your employees exist in.


How do you Lead? Are you a victim of having become a Processionary Supervisor or Processionary Manager?


Nah, you read this newsletter regularly.

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