Strong or smart

Nov 9 07:28 2012 Ranganathan Print This Article

The ground squirrels deal their opponent in a very innovative method and the corporate .....

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The relationship between the ground squirrels and the rattle snakes,Guest Posting beyond the space/premises of ‘prey and predator’ relation; the corporate world must understand as the ground squirrels employ a novel management strategy to deal its enemy, which is very essential for the corporate. 


Ground squirrels, unlike the squirrels that are arboreal, are largely terrestrial.  They live and nest in ground.  Being a ground and burrow dweller, the ground squirrels face severe predation from snakes, especially the rattle snakes.   Even if the squirrels try to hide inside their burrows, the snakes can easily reach the burrows and kills them. 


The options before the squirrels are 


  1. Fight and defeat the rattle snakes
  2. Flee from the scene and become arboreal
  3. Learn the art of dealing the enemy through some novel ways


The first option was difficult for the ground squirrels as they are neither strong nor have any means to deal the deadly venom of the rattle snake.


The second option was also not wise as predators are present everywhere and hence the ground squirrels seems to have not chosen the second option also.


The best way is to learn and be innovative & creative and deal the enemy.  The ground squirrels indeed are very intelligent in their approach. 


While dealing the enemy or opponent, one needs to study and learn about the opponent, his or her weakness and strength etc.  But most people start studying their fear, its effects and manifestations etc., instead of trying to know anything about the opponent. 


Scientific studies have shown that the ground squirrels collect the freshly shed skin of rattle snakes and wipe their body with the rattle snake skin.  This is done mainly to mask their body odour with the scent of rattle snake skin. 


It is known that the rattle snakes avoid the areas that are the dwelling places of another rattle snake.  Further, when the body odour of the ground squirrel is masked by the scent of rattle snakes, the presence of ground squirrels go un-detected by the rattle snakes. 


Animals predominantly do detect many things through the faculty of olfaction.   The question is how the ground squirrels have learned the science of chemical ecology.  How smartly they employ the method of ‘odour’ based communication to deal the enemy. 


Neither fight nor fleeing from the scene is wise and one has to be ‘wise’ to be ‘wise’.   This extraordinary management message of the ground squirrels, the corporate employees must learn and follow. 


Often the people in the corporate used to find several problems either from the boss or from the peer group.   Instead of learning to handle the situation wisely, they get frustrated.  More often than not most employees resorts to 


A)     Constant fight in the corporate

B)     Flee from the scene    


When the corporate employees fret with such situations, should see and learn from the small ground squirrels that are described as primitive animals in the mammalian order, but one must see how intelligent and innovative they are in dealing the opponent. 


Learn to be wise, your wisdom should come not from your mere strength or from your fear, but from understanding the reality and only then you can find a near permanent solution to all your problems.    This simple management message is what the ground squirrels convey to corporate.


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


Learn more from the management books


  1. Jungle wisdom for corporate management – lessons from the university of nature by Swami Sukhabodhananda and Dr S Ranganathan
  2. Nature – the entrepreneur by Dr S Ranganathan
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Dr S Ranganathan, Director, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

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