HR wisdom of Mule and Donkey

HR wisdom of Mule and Donkey
Highlights

It is a very popular phrase that “donkey sinks in quick sand and not the mule”. Instead of knowing the absolute science about the phrase, the contextual reality, the hidden management message and its relevance every corporate must try to learn.

It is a very popular phrase that “donkey sinks in quick sand and not the mule”. Instead of knowing the absolute science about the phrase, the contextual reality, the hidden management message and its relevance every corporate must try to learn.

Mule is a ‘hybrid child’ born to a stallion (jack) otherwise a male donkey and female horse or a mare. The mule is sexually sterile but is very useful to man since time immemorial.

Is it true that mules do not sink in quick sand but donkeys do? The truth is that both animals may sink. But there is a difference between them and such difference definitely carries an extraordinary management message to corporate leaders.

The donkey, may be due to its fear and anxiety, struggles to escape from the quick sand and thereby get trapped deep in the quick sand. On the contrary, the mule is said to remain calm and relaxed when it is caught in quick sand and may take some more time to sink.

From the standing posture when these animals trapped in the quick sand, they should quickly sit on to the soil so that they don’t get immersed in the quick soil so easily. The management message is that when there is any danger, donkeys may complicate it through their struggle, fear and lack of farsightedness. But on the contrary the mules may remain calm to see whether they can explore any solution to escape.

In the corporate, both the mule and donkey approach can be seen among people. Some people worsen the problem, get entangled init and then blame the fate. Getting trapped in quick sand can be called bad luck, but worsening the situation to quick death is mainly due to ones own foolishness.

Always problems should be seen and analyzed from the background as how they exist to understand what action has to be taken. Every action should have the following objectives viz.,

  1. Save
  2. Escape

In quick sand, the first effort should be to save oneself from being drown into the bottom. Only after ensuring the primary safety, the option of how to escape should be explored. This subtle distinction, the mules appear to have known.

A mule is wiser than what the corporate world know of a mule. Learn the management insight from the mules and be ‘solution centric’ than be ‘struggle centric’. Managing the struggles and not damaging the opportunity by struggle is what mules convey to man.

Dear corporate, learn from mule and adopt the approach the leadership style of mule sometime, but see the solution first and not the struggle as your best weapon. Also learn to conquer the fear and do it not with courage but with calmness. By being calm only the dominance of the emotions, both the fear and strength can be managed.

Do a deep introspection and find out whether you are operating like a donkey or a mule during struggle in your corporate life.

Dr S Ranganathan

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