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


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