Cat Herding Rule #1 – Provide Structure

I have been given a task at work, which is a project that will last about two years. Essentially, the whole point of this task is cat herding.  Yep, you read that right. For the next two years my biggest daily responsibility will literally feel like I am trying to get a whole group of cats to go in one direction.

In trying to get my arms wrapped around just how I am going to organize people from three different countries, via computer and phone, I have come to the conclusion that the first thing I need here is structure. Well, let me rephrase that. My Cats at Work are the ones that need structure, so I will provide it.

You might ask, why would I compare cats and people so flippantly? Cats are interesting creatures in that they have ideas. Sometimes if you look carefully into their eyes, you can see the gears turning. Let’s use my real cat, Harley,  as an example:

harley 029

Harley, who is thinking naughty thoughts

As you can see in this picture to the left, Harley has some thoughts rolling around in his head that probably add up to no good. Frequently he will look at me, and I know that he’s got ideas about something. The other day he took a nice long look at Older Son’s new girlfriend, as though she looked tasty. Luckily, I snatched him up just before he pounced. Needless to say, he spent the rest of the evening in the bathroom, in “time out”, to make sure he didn’t try it again while she was there.

Harley reminds me of people at work who have too much time on their hands, so much so that they have nothing else to do but think up ways to make more work for other people. Yeah…that doesn’t work for me.


Georgette, who didn’t have a naughty bone in her body

I had another cat once, Georgette, who was a sweetheart and never caused us a bit of grief. Well, very seldom anyway. The only problem we ever had with her is that she had a penchant for eating plastic Easter grass, and anything that looked like it. The problem with Easter grass, and most anything that looks like it, is that it doesn’t digest. The net result is that you end up with a cat trailing “processed” Easter grass behind them through the house.   You’ve not lived until you have chased a cat up and down a flight of stairs three times in a row, trying to catch her because she’s trailing Easter grass from her backside.

Some people at work remind me very much of Georgette in that they mean no harm, but don’t know what they are doing and make a large mess while others trail after them trying to clean it up.

You get my point. People have ideas, and most times they don’t mesh with what other people in the group want/need/think they need, etc. The end result is that there are too many cooks in the kitchen, and nothing is getting accomplished.

I think the first rule of herding cats has got to be that structure needs to not only be provided, but also adhered to. It will be my job to crack the proverbial whip and get all of these cats going in the same direction, rather than each chasing their own catnip mouse into corners where random ideas propagate like rabbits.

Not that having ideas is bad, but this group needs to THINK about what they bring to the table for discussion and make sure it is actually with in the scope of the project. Scope creep is rampant, but that is something I’ll expound on in another post.

Here’s hoping that the cats, and the people, in your life stay out of the real and proverbial Easter grass. Have a fabulous weekend!



About Sparrow
I am a 49 years young and the mother of two amazing young men, who've grown up and left me an Empty-Nester. I write about what's going on in my little corner of the High Plains, or what happens to be crawling across my brain on a given day. Thank you so much for stopping by. Make yourself at home...through the magic of the internet, the coffee's always free and the doughnuts are fresh!

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