CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 46, 16th February 2004


  1. Editorial: The secret of internal communication
  2. Coaching notes: The story of the Hundredth Monkey

1.     Editorial: The secret of internal communication

Richard Winfield - editor and principal consultant I was talking to someone this week who works for a communications company. They handle public relations, advertising etc. for clients. This lady was complaining that the staff never knew what was going on and were not involved in management decisions.

The company had a team briefing system and an open door policy. But, nonetheless, there was a sense that "we" do not know what is going on.

Some years ago I worked with a chief executive who made tremendous progress in developing a more open management style. Part of this was to tell the staff what was going on. But, what was the response when we held a meeting to brief the managers? Not "Thank you for telling us and keeping us informed." Oh no! It was "Why did you not tell us earlier?"

This is a typical situation. Truth, news, facts at the top of an organisation are dynamic – they evolve from day to day, and they can be commercially sensitive. If you tell the staff, when do you tell the shareholders? There are legal restrictions on the release of information for a company where the shares are publicly traded.

Managing information can seem a thankless task. And yet, it is very important for its impact on morale.

Many years ago I had someone working for me. He was based in the room next door, but he did not often call in, nor I on him. I had complete confidence in his judgement that he would know when to ask for advice or authority, or when I should be advised of something.

And this is the key – trust. It is not the behaviour that counts. It is the beliefs and values. If the staff trust the management to handle information sensitively and to respect the employees' interest in knowing what is going on by keeping them informed when appropriate, then morale will be high and complaints contained.

Another client was a large industrial organisation, where the middle managers were complaining about lack of information. When I asked them what information they themselves passed down, their response about their own staff was "They don't need to know." We all need to know, though not necessarily in the same detail.

My question this week is what beliefs, values and processes apply in your organisation? And, how do you respond within the freedom that you have? I hope it is not question of the pot calling the kettle black!

Come and join us

What is the most difficult challenge for a consultant, coach or trainer? In our experience it is self promotion and finding clients. It is all very well to expect work to come to you through referrals. But that will only happen after you are successful. How do you get there from start-up?

We have a backlog of individuals who have asked to be considered as associates. This requires at least practitioner level NLP, MBA level business experience and completion of our in-house training. We have decided to make an introductory module, Building a business consultancy practice, available to a wider public. This will be an opportunity for you to learn some practical strategies that work for us and find out more about our associates scheme.

As Brefi Group expands its impact on the world, I thought you would like to read the story of the 100th Monkey. This illustrates how, when you reach a critical mass, there is a quantum leap in behaviour.



Calling consultants, coaches, trainers and potential associates

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Specifically, you will hear about:-

  • How Brefi Group built a powerful leads generator on the Internet
  • Why you should start building a business profile before giving up the day job
  • A high speed strategy for getting yourself known
  • How a pricing change helped an SME consulting business take off
  • Building a network of networks

If you would like to meet the leading lights in Brefi Group and learn from our experience, then click here to find out more. Should you later be accepted for the full Brefi Associates accreditation programme, this workshop may be counted as a credit.

We intend to restrict numbers for this event, which is priced to be accessible and affordable. For more information and to register an interest, please contact

2.    Coaching notes: The story of the Hundredth Monkey

There is a legend I’d like to tell you about. It is the story of the Hundredth Monkey.

The Japanese monkey Macaca Fuscata had been observed in the wild for a period of over thirty years. In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes but they found the dirt unpleasant. An 18 month old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too. This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists.

Between 1952 and 1958, all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement ... other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes. Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958 a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes – the exact number is not known. Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let’s further suppose that later that evening the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes ... THEN IT HAPPENED. By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

But notice. A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea – colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes. Thus, when a certain number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind. Although the exact number may vary, The Hundredth Monkey phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of just those people. But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!

Your awareness is needed. You may be the “hundredth monkey”.


HOT NEWS: Andrew Halfacre publishes a sequel to 7 Ways to Figure Out What You Want™

Making It Happen™ is the sequel to our best selling resource 7 Ways to Figure out What You Want™. This 33 page guide and workbook is for those who want to find the easiest and most enjoyable way to make their goals happen.

Written in an accessible and practical style, it contains practical exercises and useful advice designed to help you find your motivation, overcome procrastination and begin to make your future into reality.

The exercises cover:

  • Finding out what drives you
  • How to put off procrastination
  • Getting the best feedback on your performance
  • Asking for help (and getting it)
  • Mapping out the future
  • And finally, the Acid Test
  • It also includes First Aid: for when you don't make it happen.

Although primarily aimed at individuals, Making It Happen is a creative resource that can be used by teams, in workshops or by managers one-to-one.

Click here to find out more.

We aim to make the Brefi Group web site the premier developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.

THIS IS A FREE PUBLICATION! Please SHARE it willingly with a friend or colleague who could benefit from knowing more about corporate coaching.

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Brefi Group is a change management organisation that provides corporate coaching, consultancy, facilitation and training. Be sure to visit the Brefi Group web site at

We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield:

Telephone: 08450 678 222, or +44 (0) 121 704 2006 (international)