Yes, you heard this right. Cats can be herd’ed 🙂
I am a cat herder, and a proud one at that.
I believe this is the most important of skills today, which is lacking in most of us, and probably at all fronts – be it at work or in our personal space.
Now what do I mean by cat herding? What comes to your mind when you read this?
Can you stop for a moment and actually visualise if you were asked to herd cats, what would your reaction be ?!
One would say – it’s impossible, Another would probably ask if you were joking , and Someone else might think You were crazy!
Or maybe even – Just a plain ” WTH”!
Yes… the most simplest way to respond would be – it’s what you would do in WTH situations, or avoid getting into such situations, in the first place 😀
In most of current situations or dynamics, a lot of inaction / overhead, unnecessarily and sometimes knowingly, crops up due to our – legacy mindset, lack of right focus, ambiguity, complex execution structure, lack of relevant right experience, not understanding the ecosystem or landscape, and most of all, fear of change (and ofcourse, you can’t ignore the herd mentality bias 😄)
Cat herding is an essential and survival critical ability for people who are expected to function as leaders / show the way. You lack this, then you, more often than not, are at a position where you will fail to create the most impact and would often struggle to meet end objectives and make the journey painful, for you and for people around you.
To put it simply, one needs to transcend into something that talks action, says action and lives action, thereby compelling others, to follow suit or step aside / irrespective of what role you or they need to play.
That’s why I tend to simplify my role (as told to others), as a cat herder.
Unless you show the belief that you can do whatever is needed, roll up your sleeves and show / travel the right path .. one will always struggle to expect the same from others ! And of course, if you think you are a damn good cat herder, but lack the ability to connect with people or empathise, and lack the ability to understand and adjust then believe me, you need to re think.
There is a damn good article on Forbes on this topic, by Victor Lipman and an useful read:
Herding cats means bringing on the ability to align masses to a common goal. This is a unique skill and often under rated one as there is no known benchmark or guideline or certification for the same 🙂
IMHO, Cat herding doesn’t always imply mis-alignment on the people front. It also has to be read from a larger processes, and a broader expectations angle. When you talk about herding (or managing) something, it generally covers a good proportion of all the three dimensions combined.
And herding, does not just imply being able to manage the nuances around these 3 areas effectively, but also being contextually aware of what works best and enabling the same.
It is a soft skill and in my view, one that has the strongest impact / influence.
Post reading this, Do you see yourself as a cat herder or as a Cat ? 😁
^ Note: Cat(s) – in the context of this article is meant to be read as a combination of process, people and expectations
pic courtesy: NatRomero on Adobe Stock