Friday, January 09, 2009

A Cow in the Ditch!!!

This was a story narrated by the Country Business Manager of my Company. I liked it for its ability to set the organizations thinking on its priorities, decision-making skills and shared responsibilities.

The story revolves around a big ranch with two big shot cowboys and their respective teams. The ranch owner, a rather burly man with great strength and control, runs the ranch. Strength and resilience are the key features of the two cowboys who have great management skills.

One day, an incident that challenges their leadership abilities takes place in the ranch.

The ranch is large and has many ditches, ravines etc. A cow falls into the ditch and is severely hurt causing a commotion among the 2 teams.

The fallen cow - a "good" cow, needs to be saved at all costs.

Few options are played out to solve the problem of the "fallen cow":

A. The 2 teams come together, one cowboy takes the lead, shoots the other cowboy and the cow and gives the message to the ranch owner - "Shot the cowboy who had caused trouble to the cow. Incidentally, cow also died."

B. The two cowboys, given that they are "tech" savvy decide to have an intellectual discussion over emails. Multiple emails are sent back and forth and additional folks (sheriff, bar owner, milkman, baker, etc.) are added to the email/intellectual discussions. Waiting for help, the cow dies.

C. One cowboy comes to rescue with his team, tries desperately to pull the cow out using all means while the other cowboy merely critiques on the process, ability, and the intent of the first cowboy....pontificating from the sidelines.

D. Both cowboys and their teams come together, quickly draw out a game plan, throw in the rope and save the cow. Also, build a fence around the ditch to protect the other cows from falling....thus showcasing value of speed & teamwork & foresight.

E. All the focus is on the fallen cow....while the other good cows aren't attended to and they start falling ill and dying.

F. Cow gets saved with great effort and some band aid is put on the rescued cow without checking whether cow needed additional attention like fracture, medication etc. So, cow is not fully recovered, due to patchy rescue/repair done & falls into ditch again.

As you ponder over these scenarios and feel that the answer is clear, just step back and think which person best represents you, your ranch, and the process? What would your response be, if you were the ranch owner and could decide on the course of action?


  1. brilliant...makes one think a lot doesnt it??
    i kno which cow i m n my org...i'll remain mum over here thou!!! :P

  2. This onez a good story BTW.Only a manager cud have told tht one ;)

    Thanks for sharing it

  3. very interesting is your blog.and the photos are very accurate to your posts. your thoughts are very different a peculiar in its own way.
    good luck:)

  4. darn interesting girl!! :D nice thought to share

  5. Damn good one again! It set me the thinking not really about the answer but the perspectives, ramifications and consequences of any decision that we need to take.
    On the lighter side,I will choose Option A, if you were the other cowboy.