The Zoo

>> Donna came up with some innovative ways to use her staff’s knowledge and drive to help contribute to the zoo’s goals, while at the same time building a sense of teamwork, increased skill variety, and autonomy.

>> [Background noise] What’s the [inaudible] program [inaudible]?

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>> It’s to share new ideas with each other or if people see something at another zoo, different ideas that different people have for enrichment. [Inaudible] move on.

>>What does that mean, [inaudible]?

>> It’s so they don’t get board. A lot of times zoos have somewhat sterile environments, so to give the animals something to do. A foraging animal is able to forage, a primate is able to think and work and do different things. Even training is enrichment because it gives them something to do, it makes them learn. The more you teach them to do, the better off they are so they don’t get bored. It keeps them mentally stimulated. Are you ready? [Background noise].

>> [Inaudible].

>> [Background noise] They’re also coming up with some really good ideas to raise money. You met our elephant keeper, Darryl. He came up with an idea to sell art that’s designed by all the animals, not just elephants, we called it Art Gone Wild, and it made quite a bit of money, and it was a totally keeper driven idea. And I also let them keep the money. If they come up with an idea, that — we have this deal where the house splits — 50% goes to the house because they’re doing it during work hours and work time, but any money — their 50%, they can choose on how it gets spent. And so, they can’t exactly send themselves to Hawaii on a vacation, but they do get to determine if they want a scale or if they want a certain thing to make their job easier, or for conference travel they get that. So that’s really helped motivate them, is there’s an incentive. If you come up with a way — a creative way to make money, you get to keep part of the proceeds and spend it they way you want, and that’s been really empowering to them.

The zoo featured in the video focuses on empowering workers to make them feel that they are an integral part of the organization and enabling them to reap the benefits as a result.

Discussion Questions:

1. The zookeepers train animals and provide alternative activities for them.  How could this analogy apply to increased autonomy and self-esteem for employees in a company?

2. How does the zoo empower and motivate employees to be autonomous, creative, and innovative?

Instructions:  Your initial post should be at least 250 words.  Please respond to at least two (2) other students (see forum grading rubric).  Responses must be a minimum of 100 words each, and include direct questions.  A minimum of one (1) outside reference is required to support your findings, in addition to your textbook. You may find appropriate articles at the end of each chapter, and/or identify articles through the APUS online Library. Finally, be sure that all forum discussions are answered in full, in order to ensure the best possible grade based on the work submitted.

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