How you go wrong with people….a HR insight from Flamingo

In corporate, the leaders do extrapolate their every observation, data or findings to make some conclusions or strategies for the future of the organization.

Without extrapolation, we cannot work. But the question is how do we extrapolate and what date we use, how we understand it correctly etc., are important. If we do not consider these aspects, our extrapolation will go wrong.

Look at the world of flamingo. During breeding season, the male and female birds always choose their partners who have brilliant orange coloured plumage.   Colour of the plumage of the bird at birth is, otherwise white. When the bird eats the carotenoid pigment rich diet, mainly some species of algae and crustaceans, the pigment from their diet impart colour to the feather of flamingo.

The question is why the female or male choose the richly coloured flamingo to mate? Only because of rich diet, the bird is coloured. So choosing such healthy bird only would result in producing health offspring.   So, flamingo takes the plumage colour as an indicator to extrapolate the scope of producing best offspring during breeding season. Scientifically they are right, both in using the right data and correct interpretation/extrapolation.

In corporate, people often use ‘right’ data for making wrong extrapolation or use ‘wrong’ data and wrong extrapolation.

In some small organization, the owners may find some employees to be very talented purely because such employees show high level of ‘loyalty’ and ‘love’ for the owner/organization. These people may not have the required professional qualification or competency but still the owners praise them and venerate them.   The owners use the data of their ‘loyalty’ and ‘lack of opportunity’ for them elsewhere as the best trait and extrapolate the likely significant role of such people for the organization in future.

Instead of having professionals and smart & suitably qualified people for the job, unfortunately the owners of some small organizations use the ‘data’ on the loyalty of people as the ‘best and only quality’ and based on such quality, they further extrapolate the likely extraordinary contributions of such people.

The ‘use of correct data’ and making ‘right extrapolation’ is very important for growth of the organization. Like flamingo, the leaders must use the ‘right data’ and must draw ‘unbiased extrapolation’ based on the future needs of the organization. Only when the future interest of the organization is seen over personal preferences, right choice can be made with right insight.

Many leaders often conclude the merit of their employees based on some strong personal reasons. If some employees avoid them from interacting or interact with them poorly, the owners conclude that such employees lack leadership quality. Contrary to that, if some employees often go to them and discuss even the trivial issues, such employees are considered as very talented and highly committed.

The unfortunate part is that neither their data is correct nor the extrapolation.

Look at the beauty of nature, how blissfully it throws up its teaching for the corporate to learn.

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

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


Biology of human evolution and mind…a HR insight

Dollo’s law of irreversibility with reference to evolution of different species of animals and plants may be true but it does not hold any locus standee with reference to the behaviour of people in corporate.

The law says, the biological evolution is progressive and unidirectional and hence once a species has evolved, it cannot go back to its previous evolutionary state. At biological level it may be true but never at the behavioural level. That is why many corporate leaders, CEO’s and owners of some small companies show very primitive and primordial behavioural traits and leadership qualities despite of holding the highest position.

Some of corporate leaders with positional seniority behave so bad, compete with their colleagues, tries miserably to prove they are great, intelligent etc. If you look at these people from Dollo’s stand point, they might be the owners of the company. They have complete decision making authority and freedom. But still they want to prove they are ‘great’, ‘intelligent’ and hence would run around to ‘create’ own image and identity.

If we have to believe that the Dollo’s law of irreversibility to be true, why these leaders/owners of some small companies exhibit such ‘primitive’ characteristics, that too with own employees?

These people have only achieved the positional hierarchy and not evolved to the positional hierarchy. This is one possibility.

The second possibility may be even if they have evolved to the positional hierarchy still that can limits only to their ‘position’ and needs not bring changed in the behaviour/leadership qualities and hence behave primitively.

Many senior level leaders in corporate instead of having any compassion, concern, or empathy for their employee, they compete with own people to prove they are the most talented. They often compare themselves with own employees and complain why their employees lack the ‘leadership qualities’.

People never understand the display of our several qualities always come also from the zone from which we operate. If we operate from the zone as ‘owner’/ ‘authority’, flow of certain qualities we can see. But such qualities need not be present in others because they will be operating from a different zone – employee.

The question is why biology fails to human psychology? May be because, human mind is not evolving at all. The human mind may be constantly adapting and changing and never wants to be in any ‘fixed state’.

What behavioural display we might see in someone today may stay only for the day and tomorrow it can disappear. If hold the Dollo’s law of irreversibility when we evaluate people, we may err in our understanding.   Another possibility is that even if people evolve, human mind can always goes back to its earliest state defeating Dollo’s law of irreversibility.

The message is that people who are holding higher positions in the organizations must behave and conduct themselves responsibly and maturely than competing and proving.

People should remember that even if they cannot be a role model for others, they should not become wrong model to their employees/subordinates.

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

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum