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Do You Hear What I Herd?

By Art van Bodegraven | 07/20/2016 | 8:01 AM

Spelling intentional. Looks and sounds like a lyric from a Christmas song, I know. But, it is really about our little dog — the one who would/should be President. Little Penny is a Corgi/unknown mix from a rescue shelter.

For better or worse, the Corgi part dominates, so she spends long periods in the backyard, scanning the far horizon for signs of interlopers and/or predators, as she guards an imaginary herd of cattle. Given a primal instinct and no satisfying relief for it, Penny tries from time to time, especially when we are carrying armsful of treasures from Costco, to herd us into one another or into the nearest obstacle.

We tolerate this behavior, having been with her through the Terrible Twos and the Teen Years (in dog years, of course). Our quite proper suburb would frown upon placing a large group of cows on the premises for a dog's amusement, but it has crossed my twisted mind that she might do well with an intimate cohort of, say, three sheep to keep on the straight and narrow.

We've concluded, and the point of raising the issue at all, is that no family member, or no staff person, no matter the endearing qualities or capacity for genius, is worth over-the-top accommodation. It's a bit like saying, "Ordinarily we'd fire David Duke, but he's so good at forming groups, and can work magic with bedsheets and a few matches … "

I'll stop short of examples from the enchanted land of Presidential candidates, but — to pick another case — Einstein would be useless, even with his infamous theory, if he refused to communicate with his intellectual inferiors. King Richard Petty would have to find another ride if he got into fistfights with pit crews everywhere he drove. And so on so forth.

Penny is not getting her herd. The wunderkind has to arrive for work at 9:00 a.m., like everyone else. The slightly weird loner who invented praline pecans that do not taste of gasoline does not get to take four hours for lunch to properly care for her cats' emotional well-being.

Clear enough? If the organization has a strong culture, no Lone Ranger gets empowered to chip away at it, at will. We'll find our own Tonto, and figure it out, without any silver bullets.



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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


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