One of the advantages of growing up out in the country was that there was plenty of room for pets.

Over the course of an eight-year span we had so many animals that I probably can’t even remember them all.  However, I can remember the following members of the menagerie that lived on our property at some point in time:

  • Our dogs: Blue, Sandy, Sabrina, a Collie whose name escapes my memory, and various strays that just liked our house for some reason.
  • Gerbils: my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Taylor gave me the class pet gerbils at the end of the school year.  There were two when I got them – there were 24 by the end of the summer.
  • Alligator: we had a small (10 inch) pet alligator named Wally.
  • Fish: goldfish, guppies, etc.
  • A pig: for a short period of time we actually had a pig.  My mother named him Floyd.  I never knew the entire story, but apparently she was less than happy with a friend of my stepfather and made the pig his namesake.
  • Cats: we had many cats that ran rampant on the property.  There was “Mama Cat” and all of her little babies.  I think at one time my sister may have had      nine cats or more.

Most of the animals grew quite attached to our family.  Well, not all of them I suppose.  I don’t remember any of the guppies peering up at me seeking my attention.  And Floyd, the pig never quite warmed up to us – until he hit the frying pan. 🙂

But the cats were in a class of their own.  They would never come to you when you called them.  They would never fetch a stick.  They just quickly swarmed the yard chasing birds, snakes and small squirrels.

My sister would often try to get them all to gather in at the same time for feeding.  That never actually worked, and more often than not the dogs would eat their food.  My stepfather told me once, “You can’t herd cats.”  Then to help my sister with the feeding frenzy – he built a small pen for the cats that was about three feet off the ground.  It had a roof of sorts and could hold quite a few cats at one time.  It had an opening on the bottom that was big enough for the cats to jump up through – and too small for the dogs to sneak in through.

When she would raise the roof of the pen to put the cat food inside – it was the equivalent of ringing a “kitty dinner bell”.  All the cats came running in for their feeding.

It was ingenious.

It was ingenious that is until my sister began bragging to everyone she knew at school (including her teachers) about how her stepfather loved her so much he built her a brand new cathouse!

I didn’t understand why that particular phrase was as issue back then – but I have laughed many times since.

Sales leaders – especially those leading commission only sales teams – often feel like they are “herding cats”.  Gaining buy-in on a cohesive action plan is a real challenge in those situations.

Tomorrow, we will lay out a ten step plan for “herding cats”.  Sales cats, that is…


What is your biggest challenge in leading an army of commission only sales people?