Learn your HR message from Skunk

Doing two things at a time or trying to achieve the same objective by two different methods simultaneously is unwise and the same will not reward or profit us is well known to nature. And only with such understanding or management essential, the nature has created the mammal Skunk.

Skunk is one of the most pungent and obnoxious scent producing animals. It uses its scent for defense purpose. The presence of the skunk can be smelt even from a mile. Many large predators like lion, leopard etc., avoid skunk and run away from the scene due to the obnoxious scent of the animal.

Although most predators avoid skunk from attacking, sometime the hunger due to non availability of prey will compel some predators to attack skunk.   During such encounters, skunk usually sprays its bad smelling scent at the predator. If that doesn’t work, then it tends to bite the predator. The most striking point is that the skunk will never throw its scent and bite at the same time. It will first use its scent and if that doesn’t work, only then it would attack the predator.

If the skunk ever tries to throw the scent and bite the predator at the same time, neither of the above, the animal can do properly. Hence it resorts to any one of the options first and later only it employs the other one.

In corporate, most people love to incubate and hatch multiple eggs in different nests thinking that they can profit big. But at the end, they gain nothing. Working with multiple options is equal to one who does not have any options.   The multiple options only would cause confusion and state of no action. The point is not about having multiple options. But while doing a particular job with particular objective in mind, one should not engage in doing another parallel job to meet the same objective. Only when one lacks confidence or has doubts, other option is taken up to meet the same objective at the same time.

Another complex situation also can be seen in some companies. The company owners make their people responsible for multiple tasks which are parallel to each other. They love to engage all people to do all jobs and that would cause only confusion. They assume that when many people are made responsible for all jobs, mistakes will be less. But multiple responsibilities would only cause confusion, they are yet to understand.   At the end of the day, despite having large number of people in the team, not the productivity or profit, only confusion, errors, blame and fights become the byproduct of such mission.

Sufficient space for focus, people need, to do things perfectly. Once the objective is set and methodology is worked out, doubt or curiosity on shorter/alternate methodologies to achieve the above objective should not be entertained as they might not only derail the achievement, but also cause confusion at the end.

Let our management understanding come from the ingenuity of skunk as they never employ both the defense options such as throwing the scent and biting the enemy simultaneously.

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

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


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