Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In Dog We Trust

Yesterday, my department was granted a visit by the CEO of our company.  His purpose in meeting with us was to discuss where he saw the future of our brand new department in the overall strategy of the company.  At one point in his presentation, as he was making a point about trust and what it means between an employee and employer, he talked about his daughter's service dog.  He mentioned how the dog knows at least 70 commands.  He then compared the service dog to a human worker.  His words were (paraphrased), "...human workers aren't like service dogs.  You don't have to constantly ply them with treats for repeating the same behaviors until they 'get it'". 

I disagree.  Ever tried to teach a dog to come when called if the dog, just once, has been punished for doing so?  All the treats in the world can't fully erase the memory of that penalty.  The dog will forever hesitate when called.

The dog may know the cue, the human may know how to complete the tasks included in their job description.  But to get either human or canine to offer behaviors, risk trying new skills, there must first be a fundamental trust that a solid swing will be valued as much as a hit.  Without that trust, there's few that will take a chance.   And that's a cost no company can afford.

1 comment:

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta said...

AMEN!!!! Wish my company would learn that!!! And that a little positive reinforcement occasionally goes a long long way instead of constant negative!