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Hanging Monkey

What is a hanging monkey? 

Perhaps the best place to start is in the coastal village of Hartlepool England.

During the Napoleonic wars, a French ship sank off the coast of this quiet community. The villagers, ever fearful of a French invasion, searched the wreckage and found one sole survivor; a monkey in a military uniform.

Having never seen a Frenchman in their entire lives, they interrogated the monkey. Receiving no responses - at least in any discernible human language - the monkey was hung as a French spy.

You can imagine, being known as the village who hung a monkey by neighboring townships can be painful. In time Hartlepudlians embraced the embarrassment, most likely to bring in tourists as no level of dignity could ever be restored after such nonsense.

Why did I use this ghastly story?

A Hanging Monkey is a useful metaphor for those who make the wrong decision using poor assumptions and bad data.

The business world is awash with Hanging Monkeys, and I believe they are learnable moments.

All this and I feel bad for this scared distant cousin of ours. Pulled from the wreckage of a ship, most likely pushed around, people yelling nonsensical things at it, and unjustly executed by a bunch of ignorant hicks.

I feel a kinship with this little fellow.

I believe he serves as a symbol of terrible behavior, the fallacy of groupthink, and I wish I could have him now stand in judgment of us - perhaps mock us a bit. 

Lighten up. We have it coming...