Manager, Farmer and Rancher

 “The excitement of learning separates youth from old age. As long as you are learning, you are not old. “

  • Rosalyn Sussman Yalow , American medical physicist, 1977 Nobel Prize.


In most of the organisations that are averse to change, managers are like farmers. They confine themselves to plot of land they own for a long time. Over a period of time law of diminishing returns sets in. To get same yield, he now has to put more fertilizers, spray more insecticide and dig deeper wells. These activities after some time make soil infertile, water level goes down and water gets polluted due to chemicals in fertilizers and pesticides.



Similar phenomenon in an organisation is called as tenure creep. A person keeps doing same task for years, but due to annual increments cycle, his tenure results in rise in salary year after year. After some time you end up with a high cost resource.

Who is to be blamed for this- individual (who did not upgrade his skills) or organisation (who did not upgrade employee’s skills)? It is difficult to answer to this question, but in today’s context, most of the organisational development experts feels that it is individual’s responsibility to keep himself updated.


Manager should be like a rancher, he should allow old cattle to die and replace them with new ones. This keeps the organisation competitive. Humans have advantage over cattle; they can renew themselves and can compete with new ones.



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