This question has appeared in nearly all of Reddit’s Ask Me Anything posts sparking several debates over the details, dangers, physics, and validity of the hypothetical animal opponents. Assuming these animals existed and all other factors were equal (animal’s potential to cause harm, weaknesses, intelligence, your environment, your resources, etc.), the answer is not so simple – there is no right or wrong answer. The question does however, evoke a desire to explain and defend your answer. After reading more on the question and incidental debates related to both answers I found that the question has been used in hiring interviews for several different positions.
The logic behind asking such an unusual interview question is in the reasoning behind the answer. You have the opportunity to explain and demonstrate your critical thinking, logic, creativity, and approach to problem-solving. Those who prefer to fight the 100 duck-sized horses may prefer to break problems down into smaller tasks, finding simplicity in managing a job in pieces rather than a whole. Those who would rather fight the horse-sized duck may prefer to focus on one task at a time putting more energy into the plan than its execution, finding it more efficient to complete a job once and move on to another big problem.
It was only after learning that my answer to this unusual question indicated my preferred problem solving method did I understand why I defended my answer so passionately. I immediately became more open to hearing people explain their reasoning and was able to appreciate the development and logic that went into their strategies.
I realized that this unusual question could also apply to group or company culture. I took note of our meetings, how employees collaborated with one another on projects, and what types of solutions our clients have asked of us.
When it comes Orenda’s approach to brand management our strategy is based on the premise that when you know better, you do better. We collect qualitative data mentioning your brand online, the majority from social media, so that our data set is an indicator of public opinion without conducting a poll. Our software organizes social chatter into categories used to measure the factors of a healthy relationship between a brand and its key publics, and established methodology in Public Relations. Finally, we quantify the qualitative data for quick interpretation and visualization.
Other social media monitoring tools advocate for intervention, these tools are useful for responding to messages online and for some brands it is a necessary part of their social plan. We opted to pass on the intervention approach so we could focus on the themes and topics that are collective and not individual problems. We pass on intervention because we’ve observed that social accounts with real time response tend to turn into digital complaint departments. The reality is that no one, business, or company is going to keep everyone happy and the energy put into responding to each individual does not address the underlying problems. Our method, the alternative, is to collect the same data and rather than respond to each individual we take into consideration what actions will improve the product, service, or experience for the majority. We believe it is more efficient to address what causes people to voice their disappointment or disapproval and take the time to ensure the problem does not continue. To frame our strategy within the context of this post, we prefer to fight the horse-sized duck.