#101 Cat Herding

Whenever I find something misfiled I just smile and say “Cat Hearing”.

Oh Julie, you can't herd cats!

A friend said that to me just last night! Cat Herding? Yup, it’s a thing,  it is on my resume, and there was even a cute Superbowl Commercial about cowboys herding cats.

What is cat herding? According to the Wikipedia it's an idiom denoting a futile attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are inherently uncontrollable – as in the difficulty of attempting to command a large number of cats into a group (herd).

In my experience it is leading a large group of individuals of all ages and professions that are volunteering their precious time when they have better things to do.... and completing a task. Simple? Nope. But since I put it on my resume I better put my money where my mouth is. So here are my tips to cat herding.

Be a cat lover:

The group you are leading are people who have generosity donated their time, and likely people you are friends with. Be respectful of their time, and be sure to thank them purr-fusely. If you have that one cat who shows up and helps for everything, but is terrible at completing tasks, thank them and assign them a partner.

Bring Catnip:

Offer pizza. I almost always delegate this job. Getting organized and giving instructions uses up the time needed to get a count and order pizza. Beer is good too, but only for some groups, be wise.

Have the cat toys ready:

Be as organized as possible before they show up. For example, when I have a music folder stuffing task I have everything laid out and ready to stuff before the volunteers arrive. Sometimes delegating a small task in advance to someone who wants to help but can not make it to the event.

Cats like to play:

Your volunteers are a group of like minded people who will also want to visit with each other. Remember this isn’t their job, it’s their free time they are giving up for your organization. Be part of the fun while gently guiding them towards the goal.

Cats will often ignore you:

There is always that small group, such as the back row in a band, that are busy gabbing and do not hear the details. Be prepared to give instructions several times, I usually make some sort of handout.

Cats will be cats:

They like to do things their own way. This is the hardest one, some volunteers will only do things the way they think it should be done, or not do a task if they think it is not needed. Resort to begging if necessary, try saying “Please do it [this] way, I find it saves me time in the future”, or assign the task to someone else. But in the end, they are volunteers and be happy they arrived to help.

The Stray Cat Strut:

People have various schedules, some will never volunteer. Don’t agonize over finding the perfect day or place. Set the time and place and get to work, work with what you have, and remember to have fun. I have not had a fail yet.

Don't be a Grumpy Cat:

Cats are not perfect, if you need the job to be done perfectly, or imperfections bother you, either hire someone or do it yourself. And yes, their are certain things I will do myself to make my life easier.

Cats are loyal:

If you are a good herder, the cats will return to play the next time.

Happy Herding =^..^=


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