Sunday, September 25, 2011

Baa Baa, Black Sheep Is Back - A New Idiomatic Use in the Corporate World

The first line of the famous rhyme Baa Baa, Black Sheep have you any wool remains in my memory but now it has become even more meaningful to me. The term Baa Baa (Baba) means "Father" in South Asia especially India and Pakistan; it is a word of respect used for elders, saints, etc. On the other hand Black sheep is an idiom used to describe an odd or disreputable member of a group and is generally perceived to have negative implications.

In today's dynamic world of management the term is back with a new idiomatic use. In order to streamline the activities of the organization, you must keep an eye on both Baa Baa and black sheep. How would you recognize these two in your organization? Here we use the term Baa Baa in the new idiomatic use. He is the person whose experience has reached a certain point where he starts making excuses, avoids sharing new responsibilities and in the worst case scenario starts gossiping, spreads rumors. This could be quite damaging because most of the time these Baa Baas are very influential and have the capability of blocking any new candidate from entering an organization.


Life is full of choices and we are conditioned to see certain paths as "normal", mainstream, comfortable, and acceptable. Yet these are the very choices that make us feel like a hamster in a spinning wheel - always running and getting nowhere.

Mentioned below are some suggestions to stop the conversion of Baa Baa into black sheep.

Counseling is necessary to make Baa Baa realize that they are important people in the organization and equip them with adequate resources and training.

Organization must underline a clear policy for this kind of situation. Job rotation and job enlargement is a good option but not the ultimate solution.

Organize regular meetings with HR and all senior management in order to provide career advice and reinforce the vision and philosophy of the organization. In order to summarize all the above mentioned story in the form of poem is like in the following manner.

Baa Baa black sheep have you any fear. No sir no sir as long as organization can bear. Some one comes and some one goes. But none to those who stab behind the back.

If you have any comments please write to me. It is all about my own views and welcome all your valuable feedback.