Understand the ‘intelligence’ of ‘intelligent’ people….a HR message

Intelligence can have two separate dimensions. Hence before concluding someone as intelligent, please understand the dimensions clearly is the message, nature conveys to the corporate world through its creation of Green heron, woodpecker finch and cuckoo.

Once the dimensions of intelligence of people in corporate are understood, assigning the right task become easy and so is achieving success.

Look at the green heron. It is an aquatic bird, found largely in marshy areas and near water bodies. The interesting aspect of this bird is its short legs. Since green heron has short legs, it can catch fishes only in the shallow regions. Fishes does not come to the shallow regions often.

The bird green heron is known to gather earthworms and other small insects or crustaceans and place them in water to attract fishes. When the fishes come near the bait, the green heron catches the fish. Its inherent limitation i.e., short legs, the green heron has learned to overcome by using baits to attract the fishes in the shallow region. It means, it attract the fishes to come to shallow regions.

The second example is wood pecker finch. It lives in dry land where cactus grows predominantly. During dry season, the bird is known to collect thorns from cactus plant and or small twigs, to dig out worms from tree holes. The woodpecker finch uses its beak only to break open the surface skin of trees. Since its beak is small, it cannot collect the worms from the tree holes. To overcome its limitation, the finch has learned the science of using the thorn of cactus to catch worms.

In the case of cuckoo, it knows that crow and many other birds cannot differentiate the eggs of cuckoo from its own. Hence it would wait for the crow and other birds to build their nest. Then the cuckoo would lay its eggs in the nest of other birds and make the crow and other birds to incubate and rear the young cuckoo without their knowledge.

In corporate, people with all the above three types of intelligence can be seen.

The example of green heron and woodpecker finch denotes how one should use the intelligence to overcome the inborn limitations or to enhance ones capability.

If leaders display the intelligence of green heron or woodpecker finch, such leaders will have high level of task orientation and such leaders also would devise different methods to overcome the limitations. Limitations never limit them from achieving nor would make them to sit and grieve or complain.

The people with cuckoo intelligence although might achieve results, but make such achievements only because of the inherent innocence of others. If people around them become alert and smart, that would limit their success as the leaders with cuckoo intelligence only know how to outsmart others and never know how to perform.

Nature conveys a strong management message through the above three birds.   When you declare someone as intelligent, do not define people based on the result they produce but also understand how they overcome limitations, how creative they are in dealing different situations. Only such people can build the organization.

Dr S Ranganathan

ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


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