Articles

Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles: What’s to Learn?

As a child, I enjoyed reading the mythical European comic books Tintin, by Hergé. The ranting of Captain Haddock with his bright red alcohol-tinged features always amused me. I never understood, until now, why he struggled with chronic frustration, or why barnacles were the metaphor of his irritation.

Giraffe: Taking Problem Solving to New Heights

A modern legend suggests that the giraffe is Africa’s most curious animal. The story goes that if you lie down in the dirt within eyesight of a herd of giraffe, they will approach you tentatively until they stand over you, peering down through elegant eyelashes to see what you’re doing. While the story is certainly…

Starfish: Sentinel for Organizational Health?

Do you remember the picture in your first grade reader of a beach with golden sand, blue waves, a yellow sun, a striped deck chair and umbrella, a bucket and spade, and the ubiquitous starfish? Despite their robust appearance lying on the sand in the baking sun in your childhood book, these are sensitive creatures,…

The Rhino and Her Oxpecker: Friend or Foe?

She stood in the shade of a giant umbrella thorn tree (Acacia tortillis), sheltering from the sweltering African sun. Well known as an insistent, somewhat grumpy leader, few would challenge her for this prime spot. Careful observers knew that her somnolent appearance belied her deep reflective nature, and her inclination for decisive action. Today she…

Sibling Rivalry and Workplace Competitiveness

The three CEO candidates eyed each other across the boardroom table. Each a high-powered executive in their own right, they provided the collective leadership for this Fortune 100 company. One led the US subsidiary, the largest and most profitable operating unit. One headed up the massive manufacturing division, ensuring production and distribution of premier products…

7 Principles of Knowledge Management: Elephant-Style

“Elephants never forget”. Hearing this at dinner last week, I was transported back to the peak of the Knowledge Management vogue. I remember when Fortune 500 companies were hiring smart executives to manage their organizational knowledge. I wondered if anybody had studied elephant memory to derive principles for human organizational knowledge management?

Eagle: Efficient Strategy and Big Hits

Do you work with somebody that alternates between long periods of watching and quick bursts of activity? Do team members complain about their “laziness”? Yet, they always get the big stuff done. How do you best apply this personality on your team and in your organization?

Hummingbird: Frenetic Networkers Drive Fertility

Do you work with somebody that moves so fast that you feel exhausted? You know, the kind of person that has their hands in everything, handles a thousand things at once, touching each lightly before darting onto the next. How do you best apply this personality on your team and in your organization?

Beluga Whale: Sensory Survivor?

I was privileged to meet with a pod of Beluga Whales last week, up-close and personal. That’s just the way this social species likes it. It got me thinking about their highly evolved communication system, and as always, I wondered if there is something we humans can learn from them.