Management insight from batfish

People often adapts for success or for failure? Definitely for success only, that will the answer of all those whom we ever ask such question. If so, the corporate leaders must know a little more about adaptation and also must realize the fact that how adaptations can fail one if one has not understood its meaning well.


Adaptable and adapted people are totally different from each other. Adapted people need not have the adaptable ability and hence may not add value. Look at the batfish and learn the finest corporate message the nature teaches us through its creation. By name itself, the batfish resembles bat and that is how it has earned such name.


The interesting point is that the batfishes are poor swimmers. By using their fins that has modified as feet, the batfishes walk on the bottom of the sea. They are well adapted to walk on the floor like how bats walk on ground. Because of such adaptation, i.e. batfishes walk on the floor to move from one place to another and it does not swim swiftly like other fishes, it can live only in shallow water or near mangrove regions. It cannot live in water that has great depth.   The pressure is high at the bottom of water and hence the batfishes cannot go at great depth.


The point is that batfishes are quite capable of walking on the floor of shallow regions of the sea but are not capable of swimming swiftly. If we shift the batfish to deep water, it may not survive as it cannot move well in water. The batfishes have adapted to a particular type of life. The adaptation of batfishes only limits their adaptability and hence they fail to survive in deep waters than shallow waters.


Many people in corporate also show high level of adaptation like batfishes. Most corporate leaders misinterpret such adaptations shown by people as ‘capability’.   Because of such wrong definitions of capabilities, they expect such people to perform different roles and handle different responsibilities. It would be like shifting a batfish to deep water from shallow water and expecting it to swim well over there.


Only because of such wrong understanding and interpretation, the corporate leaders create confusion and chaos in the work place. Most of the problems in corporate are not due to incapability issues of people. But it is only due to the error in the definition of adaptation as capability. Adaptation is situation dependent. However the capability of people is always need not be a ‘situation’ (habitat) dependent factor. Unless this difference is understood, wrong job can be assigned to a right person.


Understand the subtle management message of nature and advantages and disadvantages of adaptations as well.    


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

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


Wake up from dormancy…a HR message

Desert snails can remain in their same shell for longer period of time. It means, the shell doest grow, and it means the snail doesn’t grow. Only when the snail grows, the shell will grow.   It is estimated that only 17-26 days in a year, the desert snails are active and otherwise they remain dormant for rest of the year.  All their biological activities (eating, mating, egg lying etc.,) occur during this short active period of the year.


They live in desert, where the conditions are extreme. Due to extreme conditions, they undergoes long period of dormancy. This is not same with other species of snails. The corporate message is that when people adapts to dormancy phase in their corporate, they might able to survive for longer period but will never grow.


Many people in corporate prefer dormancy over active life. They believe that to be active means, taking up responsibilities and executing responsibilities. Both demand effort, commitment and competency. Such situations will never allow people to remain lazy, irresponsible & indifferent and can comfortably engage in praising and flattering the bosses.  


Be less visible, be less loud or less noisy, get less discussed, participate the least in the discussions, interact the least and do the job what is assigned is the philosophy most people wish to follow in corporate. Many people prefers such dormancy in corporate. Dormancy is one of the evolutionary adaptations always ensures survival success.


The question the desert snails pose to the corporate people is that whether people are adapting and evolving just to ‘survive’ or to be ‘successful’. If you are busy with the former act, you will become like a desert snail. You can feel happy that you are working with the same corporate for many years. But remember you haven’t grown enough in the corporate.


The question is that when the effort of people in corporate are more towards ‘survival’ how such efforts will provide ‘success’. Reason for the grief of most of the people in corporate is only due to the mismatch in ‘effort versus expectations’.


Only the extreme desert conditions had compelled the desert snails to remain dormant for 11 months a year. Because they remain dormant, they grow the least and hence could remain in the same shell for longer period of time.


Corporate people must wake up from their dormancy and must verify whether they are working for survival or success? Never assume that you could remain in the same corporate for longer period of time as an achievement. If you think so, you are no way different from a desert snail as it could remain in the same shell for longer period of time.

HR also must realize that only when people grow, the corporate can grow, like only when the snail grows its shell grows.


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

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


Sufficiently rich but still sad and dull…a HR message

Many people often feel that they are far behind time. Similarly some corporate also feel that competition due to innovation of other organizations are killing them. The real question is that when the people and corporate would feel dullness and lifelessness? Is when they are far behind time or with the tune of time?


Are people when fall behind time feel miserable, archaic, outdated, irrelevant and lost out from the race or when they are with time feels the above?


Remember when one is behind the time or with the time, both states will give same level of despondent feelings. According to physics, when two different trains traveling at same speed and same direction; the people traveling in one train cannot see the movement of the other train. To see the movement, one has to use a fixed frame for comparison. Unless and until a fixed frame is not used for comparison, the differences and distinctions cannot be seen, felt or experienced.


The people in corporate that are moving with time will certainly find no charm or challenge in their life is only due to the above law of physics. People seldom understand the fact that ‘contemporariness’ also can cause dullness and melancholy. Such dullness is more due to the fact that people attach their end goals just only to meet the time and space and nothing more than that. Further, people always want ‘difference’, ‘novelty’ and ‘challenge’ in their life. The challenge is otherwise a task for the future.    


It means, always one has to have some goal or task or challenge that will always attract one to move forward. When one is with time, such pulling force is not there and hence there is dullness. It means, slightly be ‘behind the time’ and never be with time.


A state of continuous motion or a state of complete rest, both makes only same sense in science and that is called ‘inertia’. Only when there is difference/change, dynamism comes and life become energetic only when one is dynamic not static.


The message is that never ever think that if you are creating sufficient meaning for today is not enough. If you have done so means you have only created space and scope for you and not the meaning for you. As you have only met what you are suppose to meet for the day and nothing beyond that.


Reasons for the sadness of people who are sufficiently rich or have achieved are only because they do not find enough challenges in their life. Another message is that if you have accomplished your challenge/goal means, your challenge is ‘simple’ and ‘easy’ and your capability is ‘high’. Setting your goal according to your capability is one aspect of success but one also must set goals that will enhance ones capability is also equally important aspect of success. Only from real success, people can find happiness.


The message for the corporate is that do not believe that ‘contemporariness’ will offer meaning and relevance only challenges can do.

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

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


Understand and learn science….a HR message

Is biology and chemistry sometime contradicts with each other to support the biological system? The meaning should be derived and understood more from the management perspective than from science. Such contradictions are inevitable for quality leadership in corporate.


If we ask the question of why we do not get stuck to the floor we walk or stand or to a chair we use to sit, we will get to know about chemistry and how it contradict physics. The outermost shell/orbit of all atoms of all substances (biotic and abiotic) is made of electrons. All electrons carry negative charge. When two different substances with negatively charged particles come in contact with each other, repulsive force is created due to similar charges. Only because of such repulsive force, we do not get stuck to any object we use either to stand or sit or sleep.


If there is constant repulsion, how we can even sit so comfortably on anything? Imagine, if such repulsive force is acting between our feet and floor, how we could balance to stand or run? We may simply say it to be due to gravity. If we roll an object (ball) through a smooth surface, due to the electron-electron repulsion, the object is expected to move continuously until we stop its motion intentionally. But the object automatically stops at some level. This is due to the frictional force that acts between the object and the surface.


The interesting point is that at electron level, different materials repel at each other whereas at the level of friction, different materials are gripped together. Is there a contradiction? If we have to assume it to be contradiction, how then it favor the biological system so effectively.


It is not just that they oppose to each other or contradict with each other just for the sake of opposing or contradicting. They do so only to keep the larger interest, i.e. to support the biological system as a whole.  


In corporate, sometime consensus may look elusive amongst leaders. They contradict or may appear to oppose each other. But in reality, such opposition need not be viewed from the premises of ‘enmity’ or ‘prejudice’ amongst people. All those oppose to each other in corporate may be doing so only to keep the corporate wellness and it success in mind. Understand the wonders in science and learn the subtle management message the science teaches us.   If HR bring science to their understanding, knowing and managing conflicts among people become easy.


What science say to corporate is that look at every issues closely, understand them, understand the inner contradictions and its meaning before drawing any conclusion. In such corporate, problems never look big and only people will look bigger than their problems/challenges.


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

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


They are not willing means they are ‘professional’…a HR message

The electrons in an atom always work for stability and similarly the people in corporate for safety and security. The electrons in every atom hence follow ‘Pauli Exclusion Principle’ i.e., they always circle around the nucleus from stable low energy level to reasonably unstable higher energy level. Quite similar to that, the people in corporate encircles their bosses and largely engaged in pleasing, praising and worshiping them as well.  


Further the electrons in the outer orbit never fall into the inner shell and cause crowd in the inner orbit or around the nucleus. The electrons always position from lower energy state to higher state in any given atom. Hence the higher energy electrons can never fall into the lower orbit.


The corporate people in general also perfectly follow the ‘Pauli Exclusion Principle’ more than in one way. Like how the electrons in the outer orbit will never fall into the inner orbit, so are people in corporate, for example, a manager or GM will never show willingness do the job of an officer or an executive. This is not just because of the differences in the designation i.e., hierarchy. Some employees with higher designations may show willingness to do any job, even the job of the lower cadre because of the fear that, only then they can retain their job.


The people who show unwillingness are relatively more career centric, growth oriented, positive and progressive in nature. Whereas the other lot of people who are willing to swing to any direction and definition and are willing to do any job, mostly lack self esteem, pride, career vision etc.


The message is that HR can comfortably use ‘Pauli Exclusion Principle’ as one of the best tools to know about people, their psychology, their career vision, their pride etc. The people who always encircle and praise their bosses need not be doing so due to inefficiency. If only by pleasing the boss one could survive in a corporate, naturally even the most capable employee might do the above to some extent.   Only when we check the second aspect of ‘Pauli Exclusion Principle’ (i.e., the electrons in the higher energy orbit will never occupy the lower energy orbit), people at the higher positional level never swing to lower level just to please the boss and secure the job. Such people may be described by the corporate as non adaptable and irresponsible, but they are neither of that. Only such people can add value to the ‘intellectual growth’ of the organization.


The suggestion is not against flexibility of people. But while being flexible, make sure it is not done at the expense of ones self respect and the dignity what each designation deserves. The HR also should use the ‘unwilling’ behaviour of people as one of the finest quality of leadership and not the sign of indifference or insubordination.


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


Failure and success of physics and biology…a leadership message

Was biology waiting for the failure/anomalous behaviour of physics to happen? The success story of diversity and multitude of life of flora and fauna in marine world tells nothing but only about the failure/anomalous behaviour physics. Only because of such failure, biology could exist in some parts of marine world. Definitely the above story is true at least in polar (Arctic and Antarctic) region and regions where the water in the sea freeze during winter.


When compared to most liquids, the water behaves differently when it is cooled or heated. Whenever a liquid is cooled, its density increases. The molecules come together when they are cooled, the intra molecular space reduces and hence the density increases. The frozen portion of any given liquid sinks to the bottom of the given liquid and never floats on the surface.


However water behaves differently. When water is cooled, instead of its density increases, it decreases and expands. As a result of its expansion, the frozen water i.e., ice float on the surface of water. As per the thumb rule of physics, the solid state of water must sinks to the bottom instead of floating.   Such expansion of water upon freezing is only due to the unique chemical structure of water. The expansion of water upon freezing happens due to crystallization of molecules into an open hexagonal form. This hexagonal lattice contains more space than the liquid state of water.


Imagine, if the fundamental concept of physics has not failed in the case of water, the entire water in the ocean would freeze during winter. In such frozen water, no life can happen or live especially during winter.   Because of the expansion of water during freezing due to the decreased density , the frozen water – ice, floats, whereas the liquid state of water underneath remain unaffected and supports the multitude of life and their diverse adaptations.


The question of was biology waiting for the failure of physics or physics failed in the case of water, only to support biology, may be difficult to answer.   The message for the corporate leaders is that one has to deviate from the fixed norms or must sometime agree to fail consciously in order to ensure success of many.


Winning always does not mean winning for oneself, but by allowing others to win is also winning, in real sense. In order to achieve the above, sometime one may have to behave differently by defeating all standard norms and dictums like how water looses its density and become light weight upon freezing.   Such change of property of water only makes the water unique and the most essential component of life on earth.


To become most valuable, much needed, essential and inevitable, one has to be unique and such uniqueness also must support and favour others to live and grow.   The corporate leaders must learn this essential leadership quality from the abnormal property of water.


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

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum        


What the HR must learn from Nile crocodiles???

Crocodiles can never outgrow the pond or the aquarium they live. Should we treat the above phenomenon of a crocodile as an advantage or disadvantage? We have to understand the above from the corporate perspective.


Crocodiles are very ferocious hunters, grow big and live long. There is no real match to the jaw power of crocodiles in the entire animal kingdom. Further, the crocodiles are ever (continuously) growing animals, if abundant food resource and water is available.   The most striking point is that the crocodiles cannot outgrow the pond or water body they live. It means, even if abundant food and perennial water reserve is available, if the size of the pond is small, then they cannot grow big, beyond the size of the pond.


Most of the bosses in corporate will be then happy to have crocodiles in their department/team or as their subordinates so that they never outgrow their bosses. However, such subordinates will remain powerful, aggressive and highly capable. You boss is happy with you need not be due to your performance but due the fact that you may not outgrow your boss.


Most of the corporate employees would show the instinct of crocodiles. They never, either like to outgrow their bosses or the corporate where they work. The other possibility is that they diminish and destroy their talents and creativity both knowingly and unknowingly in order to be with the corporate realities purely because of the comfort/fallacy they enjoy.


It is not about how powerful, aggressive and capable you are. With reference to all your above rare traits, whether you have sufficient opportunity & space to grow continuously and perform to your fullest in your organization? People may misinterpret the regular increments, bonus, other perks etc., as good index of the corporate where they work. It is like continuous availability of water and food in an aquarium for a crocodile. But unfortunately there is no space for its continuous growth. It has to remain in the size of a baby crocodile even at the adult age despite all comforts and luxuries of an aquarium.  


Understand your scope to outgrow in any given ecosystem. If you cannot, but you can, then you have to migrate to another organization and should never fall prey to the comforts of the current organization. It is not the comfort but your continuous growth to your full capability only should beckon you.


The message of a crocodile that is incapable of outgrowing the pond is that, never stuck to or romance with the comforts you enjoy in your organization but introspect whether such comforts also gives you unlimited scope for your limitless growth. Be like crocodiles in ‘Nile River’.


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

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum