The term Herding Cats gained national prominence when the EDS Super Bowl commercial gave us a hilarious literal interpretation of Cat Cowboys (Catboys?) bringing in a herd of frisky felines.
Do you ever get the feeling that you’re trying to herd cats? It’s not as fulfilling or easy as the video’s herders describe. It can be a feeling of hopeless frustration.
“If you have to try to co-ordinate a very difficult situation, where people want to do very different things, you are herding cats.“ – UsingEnglish.com
So if you’re trying to herd cats, you have a real leadership challenge. To address that challenge, let’s seek some wisdom from the legendary motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar who said:
On some level all members of a collaborative team want the same thing: a successful outcome. While each member may have their own reasons and motives for wanting it, there must be a common interest in the outcome. If not, astute cat cowboys need to cut the non-believers from the herd. With an common interest in the outcome, collaboration and compromise over who, how, what, when and where can effectively take place.
What’s A Cat Herder To Do?
As a leader, the successful outcome is the vision. Your job is clearly communicating that vision so that all stakeholders can appreciate the of value that outcome to the point that they are willing to collaborate and compromise.
Everyone’s favorite radio station is WII-FM (What’s In It For Me). Unless you can broadcast on the frequency of those cats, you’re not likely to move them.
Cat photos of Annie and Stella courtesy of Laura Lemanski