When we aren’t always on a smartphone texting and playing on facebook or instagram, we give ourselves the opportunity to engage in some deep critical thinking and have meaningful conversations about our thoughts with others. I have thought critically about the content presented in this blog post for 48 hours. Ladies and gents, this one will make you think about horses and people with a touch of originality.
Let me make something very clear first, though. I know very little about horses, how they behave and why they are so different. I do know, however, enough about the workforce and people to have an opinion for what I’m going to write for you. This blog post isn’t an attempt to describe horses in minute detail. I will delegate this to horse experts. I’m interested, though, in using horse and horse types as an analogy to the arguments that I will be presenting with people.
I’m fascinated with the possibility that there may be an intersect between the different kinds of horses and people in the workforce. By the way: Not all horses are equal. Not all people are equal. Not all organizations are equal but similarities between different kinds of horses and people do exist. This is my frame.
So let’s get started. Let’s talk briefly about horses — three types of horses in particular. The Arabian, Clydesdale and Quarter horse.
Arabian horses are a kind of horse characterized for being a striking horse. They are known for energy, intelligence, courage and nobility. This kind of horse announces to the world that he is proud. Think “Floating trot,” spirited, and gentle when thinking about the Arabian kind.
Clydesdale horses are a kind of horse characterized for being gentle giants. They are willing to do the work they are being asked to do without arguing too much. They are easily trained and smart and can do a bit more if necessary.
Draft horses are horses that move kind of slow. They are heavy boned and can push things with ease. They are the best horse suitable for farm labor and are often used in fields, farm fields.
Let’s now briefly talk about people — three types of horses in particular — and how they relate to horse type and behaviors, somehow.
Arabian employees are a showy and spirited employee. This kind of people are temperamental, hard to break in, quick footed, impulsive, like to race and show off. They figure things out creatively and if left to their own devices, they can put themselves in danger. They are in the public’s eye doing things that aren’t the best for the organization, sometimes. Forcing them to be mundane is bad for them. They want to do different things. They can get too excited (too fast) about the environment they live in. They like to do their stuff their way. People can’t control the Arabian kind 100%. If you have an Arabian employee on staff, you can’t treat them the same as everyone else. This kind of employee is motivated by opportunities and the ability to be expressive (creative), like the Arabian horse. They are often motivated by loyalty and the possibility to innovate.
Advantages: They can be creative, sometimes. They have an innovative brain able to create new products and services and systems with ease.
Disadvantages: They lack patience and are unable to wait for things to happen which tend to cause others to be impatient with them, leading to isolation.
Clydesdale employees are a fancy plow horse type of people. They make good workers and only do a splash when asked by someone else. These individuals play the part well, are kind and outgoing when needed. They look good physiologically but their nature is of a draft horse. They don’t need as much direction to do things but creativity isn’t their forte. When asked the question, “We need to develop this product and these are the parts that we have, can you do it?” They answer yes and often choose the most convenient alternative that best suits their strengths. Don’t expect much creativity from them. They can’t deliver it. This employee is better fit for most organizations. A great Clydesdale empowers the Arabian kind. They are often motivated by money not opportunity or security.
Advantages: If you put a strong Clydesdale in a position of authority, they will deliver good results.
Disadvantages: If they hit a wall or face a tricky situation, they will struggle to fix the issue creatively.
Draft horse employees are everyday workers. They perform well by coming in and doing what the company says they should do and go home. Places that require these horses to think critically without direction are a bad environment for them. They need clear direction in whatever they do. They want someone to say this to them: I want this done this way by tomorrow at noon. I want you to do XYZ for me, can you do it? They should be rewarded for their good behavior. They are motivated by stability rather than money or the ability to innovate.
Advantages: Get menial things done. They make great assistants.
Disadvantages: They aren’t creative and aren’t good at working in groups or being in-charge of anything.
I must say this before we go any further. The Arabian horse employee is the most flexible of all. They can act as a Draft or Clydesdale horse but only on a temporary basis. They are more adaptable than other “horses.” This may be a major distinction between horses and human beings. Humans may adapt to their environments about things that aren’t fit for them physiologically making them somehow perform in unfit places for necessity.
When people are young, people may think that they are an Arabian but in trueness they are a draft horse employee. It is only when people enter the workforce that they discover which horse type they really are. A draft horse employee can’t be a Clydesdale or a Clydesdale an Arabian. An Arabian employee can’t be a Draft horse or a Clydesdale, either. A Clydesdale employee can’t be either a Draft horse or an Arabian. Just remember that there are variations within each kind of horse employee. Arabians, Clydesdale and Draft horse employees aren’t created equally and have variations. Lastly: The rate of innovation that an Arabian horse employee brings is proportional to the risks he takes.
In general, people don’t know what to expect or which employee horse type they are at age 19. An organization with strong leadership needs to be able to see when they have “these horses” and put them when they best fit in order to operate to capacity. They need to give more space to an Arabian employee to look for opportunities without being isolated or criticized for it. Empowering the Clydesdale horse employee to lead your organization is a good idea that is likely to pay off. Somebody needs to do the menial labor of your organization. This is why Draft horse employees exist. Unless leadership wants to push out an Arabian or Clydesdale employee, never put these kind of employees to do the work of a Draft horse employee. Why? This is why: Human Draft horses tend to associate themselves with other Draft horse friends outside the office. Clydesdales have other Clydesdales as friends. Arabians have Arabian friends outside the workforce as friends. The system is classicist. No Arabian employee will be happy hanging out with Draft horses long-term. They think too differently from each other.
Another thing: Eloquent speeches aren’t a condition to be any of these employee horse types. If you have an Arabian horse employee on your team, teach and develop them. Be patient with them! The better they are and perform, the better you will be even if you are also an Arabian. Don’t waste them, try to understand them and you will profit in the end. Just keep in mind that some work places aren’t meant for every Arabian. Arabians are different and will seek to find where they fit more than any other employee horse. After all, this kind has a lot of energy, intelligence, and courage. Arabians aren’t the status quo. Eventually, the Arabian horse employees do what the Arabian wants. This kind will move to find his perfect fit. Always.
All three employee horses have value. No horse, by itself, is better or worse than any other individual horse… Organizations need all of these horses. Clydesdale and Draft horse employees are very important in every organization but not everybody is a Clydesdale or a Draft horse types. Innovative organizations do what they can to keep the Arabian horse employee around with the hope that they are a fit because this kind helps the organization to solve problems creatively.
So that is it. 48 hours of critical thinking expressed here in my blog. When we get away from all this technology, we do produce something worth talking about. So, which employee horse are you? Can you identify a Clydesdale? Or a Draft horse in your organization? Share your thoughts below. Let’s chat.