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The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 10, 2015 • Issue 15:08:01


The Jurassic world of work

One of the blockbusters in movie theaters this summer is Jurassic World, the fourth installment in the Jurassic Park film franchise. Jurassic World, like the preceding films in the series, features dinosaurs – and lots of them. We often think of dinosaurs as mindless, vicious killers, "red in tooth and claw" (a term 19th century poet Alfred Lord Tennyson coined in an elegy for a friend). Jurassic World offers a different take on dinosaurs, showing them to be denizens of a relatively harmonious ecosystem ­– until it is disrupted by human interference, that is. There is certainly competition in Jurassic World, but there is also a delicate balance, with various dinosaurs taking on complementary roles, making the system as a whole work for the benefit of all.

You could think about the modern business workplace in similar terms. Whether you work in an office or work more with clients than with co-workers, the Jurassic world of the workplace depends on competition and complementary work, with different kinds of people acting in a variety of roles. Indeed, we could consider these roles as types of dinosaur. Consider the following:

  • Velociraptor and Apatosaurus: These raptors are the stars of all the Jurassic Park films, due to their amazing agility, relentless pursuit of prey and superior intelligence. Who is the raptor in your business? Most likely it's the person or people who have learned to channel their natural aggression into the pursuit of clients and sales. At the other end of the aggression scale is the Apatosaurus, the largest dinosaur on land. He is a gentle giant who generates more sympathy than fear. Workers like this are also needed for any successful business. They may work behind the scenes, doing the payroll or something similar, but your business could not function without them.
  • Mosasaurus and Pteranodon: Mosasaurus is the largest dinosaur in the sea. The Pteranodon is a flying reptile. We might consider the Mosasaurus as the worker who knows the most about the business, who has been involved in the nitty-gritty of the job the longest and is, as a result, the most knowledgeable about the business. In contrast, the Pteranodon flies above and does "the visionary thing." With someone doing the forecasting, and someone else keeping the business grounded in the nitty-gritty, a business is more likely to succeed.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex and Indominus rex: As its name implies, Tyrannosaurus rex is the ruler of the dinosaur world. In the same way, someone in an executive role needs to take charge in the modern business. But even the Tyrannosaurus is limited by its role in the ecosystem. The Tyrannosaurus can't just gobble whatever comes along or, in the case of the business place, indulge in micromanagement or aggrandize certain roles. The result, as we see with Indominus rex, is disaster. In the film, the Indominus is a hybrid, the product of human hubris and greed. Indominus upsets the delicate balance of the dinosaur world. The same can be said about some workers, for example, individuals who do not respect the distinct roles and command structure of the modern business place.

Whatever your role is in the Jurassic world of the workplace, know that it is vital to the overall success of your business. end of article

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