From the defense strategy of Hagfish…a management message

The people in most corporate develop/inculcate different strategies/techniques to defend themselves from different situations like, from superiors/bosses, from peer group or from other functions etc.   When things go wrong, instead of looking out for the right reason for the failure, often most corporate leaders and people hunt for scapegoats.  If the cause for failure is ever discovered/identified the problem can be solved easily and once for all, but it doesn’t happen.  Only the fear prohibits people from understanding the reasons to shift the blame on someone.  If one delay in identifying the scapegoat, others might make him/her as the possible scapegoat.   Because of this reason, people always look for scapegoats than knowing the reasons.


In order to avoid themselves getting identified as scapegoat, people always develop different defense methods.  But sometime the own defense methods can put them in deep trouble than others in the corporate.  Therefore one has to be careful about own defense strategies while defending oneself from ‘enemies’.


Nature has a finest example for the corporate man to learn from a marine animal called Hag fish.  Hag fish, otherwise called ‘slime eel’ is a marine animal that lives in Pacific Ocean.  The hag fish, when threatened or attacked, releases/exudes a slimy substance from its body.  The slimy substance quickly reacts with water and become gluey gel.  In most instances, the gel covers the face and body of most of its predators. The predators will find it hard to move or breath and hence they run to own safety.  Naturally they would leave the hag fish free. 


Most of the time, the same slimy substance would entrap and encapsulate the hag fish as the slime never recognize differently the hag fish from its predator.  Unless the hag fish show some level of intelligence, it might get trapped.  The defense mechanism of the hag fish i.e. the slime production would indeed defend the animal but can put them in trouble also.  If the hag fish ever assume over confidence about its defense mechanism, it might lands up trouble and that can be as bad as predation. 


The management message is that have smartness even when you operate a right strategy.  The right strategy will not go wrong.  But it is only in relation with its purpose.  Beyond its scope, it can pose some problem.  One has to be smart to understand and escape from it.  The slime exuded by the hag fish although may defend the animal, but there is also an equal chance of the animal gets entrapped in the same slime and hence it should know how to avoid or free from it.   


It does not mean the defense strategy is wrong.  Being unwise with such strategies only can pose problem.  Hence adequate understanding is inevitable. 


The people in corporate must develop capabilities and also must understand such capabilities beyond the level it has to be understood.    Otherwise the self defense can although help one to defend the ‘self’ from others and simultaneously can make the ‘self’ defenseless to it. 


Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai




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