POINT TO PONDER
"The most powerful force ever known on this planet is human cooperation - a force for construction and destruction."
- Jonathan Haidt
STORY LINE by Anand Shah
The other day I was out to lunch with one of my former bosses. During our meal my former boss ran into two colleagues from a company of which he had previously worked. After the usual exchange of pleasantries, his two co-workers started filling him in about the affairs at his previous company. The two gentlemen told him that one of the highly respected executives who they all knew, and who had contributed immensely to the company for past 25+ years, left the company because he was unfairly deemed the “fall guy “ regarding the failure of the company's latest initiative. They made it a point to mention that at the same time this person's boss, who was also responsible for the project, was promoted into the higher level position holding no accountability for the failure. They lamented that such senior person, with so great many achievements, had to go in this unfortunate way.
Listening to this conversation, I could not resist to share a story from my 40 years of working in the industry of similar episodes I have witness and experienced. I told them, “my friends, in the corporate kingdom, much like the animal kingdom, very few lions die a natural death.”
If you ever observe lions in the wild, they seem to work in packs, getting along for the sake of the kill. For meals. For protecting. For survival. Much like in the wild, the lions of the corporate kingdom seem to get along, collaborating when there is a common purpose, where everyone of them has a vested interest in the job at hand, and they feel that the other lions surrounding them are going to be of value in the quest for that common kill. Let's just hope you're on the lion's side and not the kill side because positions can shift quite quickly based on an ever shifting circumstantial landscape.
And when you do see these lions feed after the kill, do you see any of them sharing or helping the other once the buffalo has been laid to rest? No. Each one is busy eating his own part, as fast and as much as he can swallow while secondary lions and hyenas are left on the outskirts, waiting for any left overs, if there are any.
And what happens to the lion when he becomes weak or seen as not useful to the pack? Do they trot gracefully into the sunset to die a peaceful death under a Baobab Tree? No...
Most lions in the wild are killed by the very lions and hyenas they were surrounded by when they were at the peak of their health and resourcefulness. The animal kingdom is no different than the corporate kingdom.
Back in the civility of the restaurant, my former boss and his two former co-workers were so engrossed in listening to my story, that they forgot the delicious meal getting cold on the plates before us. So like any good lion, I reached to the middle of the table, stuck my fork into the juiciest part of the dish and took my share.