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Monday, January 18, 2010

Whale done

Speaking of leadership conferences… I attended a student media leadership workshop last week. Of course, it wasn’t a big fancy affair at a hotel in Estes Park, but they did provide free bagels, so it was a big day none the less.

I will say that there were some helpful sessions, and it was nice to spend time with some of the people that I work with at student media that I hadn’t seen over winter break. But the highlight of my day was the supposedly inspirational but mostly ridiculous video that we watched.

First, let me start by telling you that this gem of a film was titled “Whale Done.” Its purpose is to show methods for dealing with employees. The main point that the video makes is that it is important to build strong, positive and trusting relationships with our employees. Do this, and you will yield better productivity from your staff because they are happy and comfortable.

That sounds like a pretty nice philosophy, right? Here’s the kicker: They explain this method by comparing employees to killer whales. That’s right, this management strategy is based off of the training program at Sea World – whales do not learn from punishment/reward, and neither do employees.

The film features montages of whales jumping out of the water, paired with terrible actors portraying real-life work situations in which the “Whale Done” method can be used. 

What I learned from “Whale Done,” which I’m sure has won some sort of prestigious award (not), is that people are like whales. In order to get them to do what you want, you need to build trust by rubbing their backs or patting their blowholes...

On second thought, I think I may have misinterpreted the video. Good thing we also watched a video on harassment in the workplace. 

P.S. By the glory of YouTube, I bring you an actual clip from “Whale Done.”

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