The Happy Sandpit Metaphor

Employees in a company are like children in a sandpit. If you have a group of children who play well together, they will build sandcastles. They may build very elaborate ones. One will run off to the tap and fetch a bucket of water and they’ll build a moat. They’ll have such a good time doing it that they will want to do it again tomorrow. Which means you can sit at the adults’ table and have a cup of coffee with the other adults. You must supervise the sandpit, but you don’t have to manage every single detail.

But you put one little bugger into that sandpit who won’t share the bucket and spade, or who thinks it is okay to kick sand in someone else’s face, and someone is going to start crying. When someone starts crying, you’re off the adults’ table and you’re back to managing the sandpit.