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Assertive Incompetence:
The Conclusion

From the forthcoming book, "Assertive Incompetence--A Comprehensive Guide to Management Malpractice"

Copyright 1999, Douglas . All rights Reserved

No portion of this article may be reproduced without the written consent of the author

By Douglas Becker

Animal Allegory III--A Cautionary Tale About Survivors

Once upon a time, there were sheep. These were not the domesticated kind, but of the wild variety, such as dwell on sides of mountains, and in forests. In many ways, these sheep were quite independent and might have been considered to have more the personality of goats. They tended not to flock together, but occasionally it happened that they did congregate mostly by chance.

It was one of those occasions that they happened to find a cave, and, seeking shelter from the elements, they went inside to find that it was a den of sorts. There were six abandoned pathetic starving weak, about to die, cute little cuddly wolf pups. The sheep, not accustomed to the habits of those particular predators, took pity on the poor pups.

The wolf pups prospered on ewe's milk, amazingly enough. It was a tough go, but little by little they got better until their eyes opened and were able to take some stumbling steps toward the entrance of the den.

This had a curious affect upon the sheep. It brought them together and gave them purpose.

As the weeks lapsed into months, the pups played and frolicked. The young were not unlike the lambs playing and frolicking and so the nature of their benefactors was not immediately evident to the sheep. Oh, as time passed, they noted with interest that the wolves did not seem to want to eat the same things as they did. They seemed to grow apart in interests.

Some were alarmed, if not downright suspicious, when the wolves left them for long periods of time. Rather than imagine the worst, most of the sheep assumed that what the wolves were doing was in their best interest--doing an important work, as it were. After all, did not the wolves always come back to them? And each time they did, they seemed all the healthier.

There were some dissident sheep who were bleating in the wilderness that wolves had entered in among them, but they were ignored. Moreover, the naysayers soon mysteriously disappeared.

The independent sheep had all been brought together and were now a flock under the leadership of the wolves. The sheep became more and more as though domesticated. The alpha wolf was a stern taskmaster, insisting that he was the one true leader of the sheep. He demanded that the sheep follow him blindly.

Some of the sheep began to have identity problems. They couldn't tell if they were really sheep or really wolves. This was not a problem with the wolves. The wolves always knew exactly what they were.

As the lead wolf became more arrogant and strident, the sheep became more submissive. The wolves began to multiply. The sheep began to diminish.

Then there was a disagreement among the wolves as to who was the greatest among them. Soon, the wolves separated into different packs because they wanted to be in Authority and they always took sheep with them.

As the divisiveness grew, so did the number of packs grew with the wolves taking as many sheep as they could with them. There were tales of some of the wolves stealing sheep from other packs. Some of the sheep became so disgusted with the situation, they just left and went their way. Those who became independent found a new freedom in not having to serve their fellow sheep AND the wolves.

More and more mysterious disappearances of the sheep continued, but the sheep who were left, suspected nothing. Oh, once in a while some sheep became alarmed upon finding one of their members dead in their own blood with suspicious teeth marks of a carnivore, but they thought that their fellow had died on his own to become prey to scavengers. Or perhaps had fallen over a cliff. Or maybe, they got what they deserved.

The situation continued until this day until there are NO sheep left.

But there are plenty of wolves.


Copyright 1999, Douglas

All Rights Reserved

No portion of this article may be reproduced without the written consent of the author


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