How many commitments do you have to other people right now?
In the past month, how many times has someone come to you with a problem and you left with something to do about it?
Likely too many.
Introducing the Monkey
My business had grown like crazy. I was overwhelmed trying to manage 60 employees.
At an event, I met a guy who had been in business far longer than me. He heard about my issues and recommended a book and I almost laughed…The book was called, The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey.
As an avid reader of business and self-development books, I wasn’t confident this tiny little book of about 100 small pages or so would do me any good.
I was wrong.
What is a “Monkey”?
This book refers to those pesky problems people put on your back as monkeys.
Someone is having an issue they come to you for help. However, they don’t just get advice, they get you to walk away having to do something about it.
This happens all the time for entrepreneurs.
Your customer service manager is having an issue with a customer. Rather than you listening to them, giving some advice, and telling them to go do something about it, you say, “I’ll take care of it.”
…and the monkeys start piling on.
Pretty soon, you’re weighed down with 100 monkeys from other people and you can’t get any meaningful work of your own done.
Say No to Monkeys
The solution is to say no to monkeys. When someone comes to you with an issue, be hyper aware of who walks away with a task.
If it’s you, you took the monkey. If it’s the other person, they kept their monkey.
Aim to take very few monkeys and only when absolutely necessary.
This strategy is liberating. It allows you to listen to other people’s issues and give them genuine advice without feeling like you’re going to walk away with their problem every time.
You leave the conversation free and able to do what’s most important to you.
You’re Not Just Avoiding Work
For people to grow, they need to solve their own problems. Otherwise, they will never learn to face and overcome challenges.
By saying, “I’ll just take care of it”, you’re not letting them grow.
By saying no to other people’s monkeys, you avoid taking on work that isn’t yours in the first place. Let the right person solve the problem – and that usually isn’t you when someone comes to you with a problem.
Start today. In every conversation you have with a coworker, employee, family member, or friend, listen to what’s being asked and what you offer.
Are you taking on more monkeys than you need?