Sunday, October 23, 2011

peacock and penguin

By Col NKS Warrier(retd)

There is the oft quoted story of the colorful peacock and the straitjacketed penguin. The penguin represents the top management of the company who wants to conform to company norms and rules and want the employees to do the same. The peacock on the other hand is innovative , wants freedom of choice, is a reservoir of new ideas and does not want to be straitjacketed.

When Roger Enrico , the former Chairman of Pepsi Co took his top management for their weekend retreats to discuss future strategy, the seniors were heard saying" till now we used to criticize our bosses and call them idiots and blamed them for everything wrong that happened in the company- today we are the seniors and the idiots- whom do we blame now?"

According to me it is inevitable that peacocks in the organizations will become penguins at some stage in their career. Responsibilities, the need to service the bottom line, the pressures of handling people
will ultimately weigh you down and force you to conform. Thats the law of nature. What one must do in organizations is to encourage the peacocks to be innovative in their thinking and at the same time shape
their behavior so that they align themselves with organizational values and culture. Freedom to speak one's mind and to express new ideas should not be a license for non- conformance and errant

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