What’s monkeying with your business growth?

Nina KaufmanArticles, Profits, See Differently, Systems1 Comment

“Every time I call, it’s a [expletive] debate,” Devon fumed. “And I gotta call every month to get paid. I can’t stand it!”

My client, Devon, runs a tech support and solutions business. He’s been grumbling about this business customer for many months. How the company never pays on time. Or follows the “rules” in his contract.

Image courtesy of Voraorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Voraorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It reminds me of an old story about monkeys on a golf course.*


It was the late 1800s, during the days of the British Raj.  The English had set up a golf course on the outskirts of Calcutta.  Plenty of land.  Plenty of monkeys.

Monkeys loved golf. They’d scamper onto the grounds. Grab the little white balls once they landed. Fling them in all directions. Screech and whoop with delight.

Golfers hated the monkeys. “They’re completely disrupting our round!” they’d cry. They tried to control the monkeys. Built high fences. (As if monkeys don’t climb). Lured them away with bananas. Trapped and relocated them.

None of it worked.

The monkeys kept finding their way back.Worn out—and out of ideas after several years—the golfers surrendered.  They couldn’t change how the monkeys behaved. So they changed their house rules instead.

For their golf course, you had to play the ball wherever the monkey dropped it.


Devon was like the golfers. He repeatedly took action … to change his customer’s behavior. Instead of his own.

Because he fixated on solving the problem by controlling his customer, he lost sight of how he could change his own approach. He has good contract options (I should know—I drafted them 🙂 ). He can charge interest on late payments. Stop work if not paid promptly. Terminate the agreement.

With that, Devon could stop wasting time. Could start putting energy toward more enjoyable—and profitable—customers.


Our More Profits Express program helps you identify the “monkeys” among your clients so you can stop wasting time. If you’d like to know more, get in touch.


* Many thanks to my colleague, collaborative divorce attorney Andrea Vacca, Esq. for forwarding this story, originally shared by Tara Brach, Ph.D., in Psychology Today.

One Comment on “What’s monkeying with your business growth?”

  1. What a great story, Nina (and Andrea)! I love seeing when people I adore come together and even moreso when they create something wonderful together. I sometimes get caught up in others’ monkey business, too, and have to remember that “if you can’t beat them, join them.” This doesn’t mean that we become monkeys. Instead, we learn how they work so we can create a solution beyond making them change, as described in this story. Thanks for this reminder. Eventually, we will get so many powerful reminders such as these that they will become our way of life. 😀

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