Ducks to Monkeys

It takes largeness of spirit to value ducks when you’re a monkey. Foolish monkeys complain about ducks. Wise monkeys maximize their potential.

Persistent disapproval de-energizes ducks.

Learn how to approve of ducks even while working to improve their quacking. But remember, a duck in a monkey mask will always waddle and quack. 

Approve of those you hope will improve. Approval energizes the spirit and inspires bold quacking.

Points of celebration even with poor quackers:

  1. Celebrate any acknowledgement that quacking is below the bar. Excuses end progress. Pour into ducks if they recognize they quack poorly.
  2. Celebrate their potential for improved quacking. Untapped strength and unleveraged talent is latent potential. But don’t waste time trying to turn quacking ducks into squealing monkeys.
  3. Celebrate their passion and commitment to improve.
  4. Celebrate improved quacking.

 Reassign or remove poor quackers if one of the above four qualities is missing.

Gratitude finds things to approve. 

It takes skill to approve of ducks while working to improve their waddling and quacking. One key is ‘waddling with’ rather than ‘squealing aloof’.

Gratitude sees good.

Examples might be:

  1. You quack till your quacker goes hoarse.
  2. Your duck heart cares deeply.
  3. You grit your bill and try again.
  4. You keep waddling to work with a growth mindset.


Ungrateful monkeys nitpick acceptable quacking because it could have been better. If a duck’s quacking is acceptable, honor it and ask, “How might you quack even better?”

Ungratefulness sees lack and complains. Gratitude celebrates potential and progress.

Final thought:

What if you think you’re a monkey but you’re really a quack? Just asking.

How might leaders use gratitude to improve poor performance?

When does gratitude hinder performance rather than enhance it?