Don't know if this is really true, but someone told me that kids growing up in farm country tip over cows when they are being vandals. So naturally when a workplace book titled "Tipping Sacred Cows" crossed my desk a few months ago, I had to save it for a rainy day read (even though it's sunny now). So what are these sacred cows being tipped?
According to author Jake Breeden (and can you believe the man's last name, given the subject???), the sacred cows are bad work habits that masquerade as virtues. Now I'm going to switch tone here and become udderly serious. I mean utterly serious.
In the book, subtitled "Kick the Bad Work Habits that Masquerade as Virtues," Breeden lists seven "sacred cows," which he says should be tipped over and examined.
They are: balance, collaboration, creativity, excellence, fairness, passion and preparation -- all virtues at work. But when they become automatic and unthinking, they can have unintended results. Over the next few weeks, when I get a break in the news, I'll come back to this book and its lessons.
By the way, here's a link to the wikipedia entry on tipping cows, just fyi, and a video guide. Also, you can listen to Breeden discuss his ideas in a short version, and long version. And you can download the first chapter of his book.