Adaptation is inevitable for success and if so, how adaptation of people in corporate such as sycophants, predators, snatchers, parasites, pathogens etc., can be called bad and unhealthy? Should people remain unbending and rebellious? The question is right and so is its logic. But unfortunately the correct meaning and the context is missing in the above question.
Look at the cactus plants. They are called as xerophytes. They have adapted to live in extremely dry soil devoid of water. They learn to accumulate water in their steam and also have adapted not to loose water. This is at one level. They produce tasty fruits and nectar rich flowers. The animals and plants that are adapted to such dry environment receive the nectar and fruits of the cactus as reward/payment and in return pollinate and disseminate the seeds of the cactus.
The point is not about what type of adaptation one chose. The adaptation of one to ‘what is’, in the given ecosystem is essential for success. So adaptation per se is not bad or unhealthy. But after adapting in the given ecosystem, are they also contributing to the ecosystem in some way is the important question, corporate leaders must ask and understand. Nature has favoured every species/form of life to adapt in the given ecosystem. Nature also supports the possibility of their continuous adaptations to suites to the ever changing ecosystem. But nature also ensures that all species ‘contributes’ to nature for mutual benefit and reward.
In corporate, most of the leaders limit their success and joy in having many sycophants and ‘yes boss people’ around them. The bosses and leaders love to be in the company of such people. The bosses also will offer hefty perks, salary hike, promotion etc., to such people in order to continuously keep those people as sycophants and ‘yes boss people’. Ironically if you are a sycophant of your ultimate boss, you know the art of praising and pleasing them and make them happy by saying exactly opposite of what they are, you need not do anything beyond that. Because, according to your boss, already you have done enough to them by praising and flattering their ego. Then what more you need to do. The most painful and disgusting fact is that many corporate owners however false it may be, but still wants and believes in people praising them.
The point is not about adaptation either are sycophant or become an ‘yes boss people’, but the failure of the corporate and its leaders to audit the contributions of such people beyond ‘praising, flattering and venerating them’. The bosses who wish their subordinates to do a fantastic job for them by flattering them must ensure that such people to do fantastic job for the corporate also. Unfortunately most bosses miss this aspect. The organizations that are run directly by the owners by being in the helm of affairs without having professionals and the organizations that are run as family unit are the one generally suffers the worst from such possibility.
Corporate need people who can adapt to different situations because the corporate demands are never unidirectional, defined and well doctored. The market is very dynamic and hence people with quick reflexes and adaptability in sensing and doing the right job is must.
Therefore adaptation is not bad or unhealthy. But never quote or define its meaning out of context. Look at the beauty of nature. No management school on earth can give you such wonderful management insight like what nature throws up to us.
Let people in corporate adapt and be the product of adaptation. Let us not define what product they are as ‘sycophants, predators, climbers, parasites, pathogens etc., but ensure they contribute to the overall growth of the organization.
Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai
Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur