Byron's Babbles

Counting The Wolves

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on July 3, 2022

“Grant, how many wolves do you think there are in that pack?” Knowing where he was from, and suspecting that he thought I would over-estimate the number, I determined to show my acquaintance with the animal by putting the estimate below what possibly could be correct, and answered: “Oh, about twenty,” very indifferently. He smiled and rode on. In a minute we were close upon them, and before they saw us. There were just TWO of them. Seated upon their haunches, with their mouths close together, they had made all the noise we had been hearing for the past ten minutes. I have often thought of this incident since when I have heard the noise of a few disappointed politicians who had deserted their associates. There are always more of them before they are counted” (chapter V). ~ General Ulysses S. Grant. I love this story from General Ulysses S. Grant in his autobiography, Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant.

It is always interesting how someone will say there are lot of people complaining, unhappy about something, not approving of something, or not wanting a change. I always ask, “give me a list of everyone.” Nine times out of ten the many becomes one or two. Thus affirming General Grant’s point – “there are always more of them before they are counted.” This is also why I believe it is important to look at actual numbers when reviewing surveys and polls. For example: if one person out of 17 gave a ranking of “unsatisfactory” would show up as 6%. The data becomes much more useful when we know the actual numbers with the percentages. We need to count the wolves.


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