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2020 Summit Special Why People Really Do What They Do with Daryll Scott

In this episode is another Summit Special taken from a live recording of our 2020 Summit. Daryll uses his talk to introduce his Lion, Monkey, Dog theory and discuss the ways in which we should stop ignoring ourselves.

In This Episode:

  • Psychology in threes 
  • Learned Helplessness 
  • Monkey 
  • Lion 
  • Dog 
  • What Does This Mean For Work Places? 
  •  Considering different perspectives

Darryl starts his talk by inviting the audience to discuss what motivates them. An unusual but thought-provoking take on work-life – Why are we here?- What gets you out of bed in the morning? What do you care about, and what are you scared about? Darryl often asks this question to business leaders and is enjoying the ways these answers have changed post covid.

Phycology In Threes

Daryll coined his Lion, Monkey, Dog theory after a lifelong fascination with psychology, NLP and the basis of communications we use in every setting: “I think phycology fascinating, its the most fascinating thing in the world ..every communication is received by a person, its the most important thing in the world.”

Daryll is fascinated by the way psychology and as a large society is obsessed with grouping experience into threes; Freud’s Id, Ego and super-ego down to the chip paradox- He believes this trilogy is down to the way people expense the world in 3 fundamentally different ways; our outside world, our uninternalised knee-jerk reaction and the internalised thought-based experience. This idea links into his Monkey, Lion, Dog Theory:

Learned Helplessness

When an elephant is trained, says Daryll, it starts off heavily chained to something, but as it gets used to its confinement, the efforts of chaining it are reduced, until “you can tether an elephant with a piece of string or a cord because it never tests it.” This is key in Daryll’s idea of changing your approach and looking at communications from different perspectives; he adds that “If your unconscious mind asks for something and you say no, enough times, it stops asking.” And these things that you’ve been saying no to will resurface. Darryl knows that we put ourselves into containing scenarios and let the rest bubble away, but that doesn’t make the background less important.

Because understanding someone’s motives and mindset is fundamental to how we communicate with them, whether for sales, or as a leader, or for any other reason. We can approach either side of these communications using Monkey Lion Dog to understand the other person’s reactions and also help position ourselves in the most productive approach. The beauty of using Monkey, Lion, Dog to understand human experiences is that it’s very versatile and can be applied in many ways.


“Monkey motivations are continental” in neuroscience, it would use the primal part of the brain. It asks “Who am I” type questions and wonders; what impact am I having on this situation? Can I change it? In Daryll’s theory Monkey process are interested in legacy and autonomy and the ways in which you can be yourself. This is perhaps a noticeable jump to his opening question around what people actually want from their work life. But of course, we can approach this in different ways.


Lion “processes are all the rational things” how we judge them and value decisions. It asks, is it good or bad quality, its judgemental and used in value and figures, says Daryll. Understandably marketers and business leaders are often incredibly good at these types of thought processes; used to approaching decisions in terms of whether or not it’s professional, ROI etc. But perhaps, as Daryll comments, this can be detrimental as they can gain a tenancy to become over-reliant on these approaches.


“Our Dog interestingly is around our feelings. Feelings of connection of being on red-alert or comfortable of comradery and trust… “. This agenda may have been neglected “normally” in workplace culture but, Daryll’s team has done some recent research and found a shift in what people have been valuing since covid. They found that people are looking to pay more attention to dog values in that “themes around having a chat, seeing people, those types of human connection are over-indexing about 20 to 1 since before the pandemic.”

What does this mean in terms of what we need from work?

Well from a Monkey point of view, Daryll feels “we need contextual stimulation, to be queued from our environment we need to be able to be creative and adjust to things” from a lion point of view, we need “to feel some degree of control, we to be able to make choices”. We also need human connection, and with that in mind, Daryll believes we should use any post-pandemic changes to consider our values. He asserts that there’s a real cost to lockdown that we need to remember when we look forward; our lack of touch and connection needs to be considered in terms of its impact on future abilities and availabilities for teamwork etc.

Considering different perspectives

Often businesses are very good at Lion motivations. For example, in marketing material, we are saturated by bold, rational lion messages. But Daryll consistently finds that the other two, when used in advertising, are more effective. This may, in part be because they are more unusual but also because they appeal to peoples deeper needs; which Daryll points out is often more powerful. Using Monkey or Dog appeals can capture “the systems that really drive us as human beings”. He refers to his work as a therapist in that “you can’t cure a spider phobia by convincing them that spiders aren’t scary; that’s not where the problem exists, you’ve got to do something else”. It’s looking from different and often more powerful perspectives that can give the best communicators an advantage.

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