In corporate life, teamwork is vital…
Of all the life on earth the 437 primate species (including humans) are the most powerful and successful. After humans, the most intelligent and successful and powerful primates are baboons (maybe the Planet of the Apes movies are trying to tell us something!).
In the wilds of Africa where they live, they are in paradise. No real predators and lots of food, they are in command. Strong, very intelligent, huge fangs and other advantages make them superior. The closest parallel to their lifestyle in comfort would be how we humans live in a modern economy like Australia. As a nation, we have it as good as it gets… and as a member of the african ecosystems, so do baboons.
However, despite living in paradise with all the advantages, baboons make their lives a living hell.
Their main activities in their communities seems to be dominated with fighting with each other, picking faults, struggling for status and self-interest. They are engaged in constant quests for power and control.
Young baboons are raised in this environment and soon get the measure, power is what it’s all about, and fighting for it is endemic and vital. The most powerful baboons set the culture and reinforce their power to sustain the baboon culture in angst and discontent.
Look at some families, some societies, some companies, some nations and you will see the parallels.
But researchers found a particular troop of baboons (tagged the Keekorok, in Kenya’s Masai Mara) that is different. A freak natural occurrence caused the superior aggressive males to get tuberculosis and die. As a result the tribe ended up with twice as many females as males and the males were no longer aggressive and dominating.
The consequences were dramatic: cooperation became the tribal norm. Interaction and caring for each other was now commonly evident. Any new aggressive baboon that joined the group was “reformed” and also learned to be caring and cooperative.
What had previously been believed to be the natural state of baboons- conflict and aggression- had been reversed.
This particular troop of baboons has turned, through their own behavior, what should be paradise, into, well, their own version of baboon paradise!
Being a baboon is not necessarily the problem, it’s the attitudes and behaviours and values of the baboons that makes all the difference. The right baboons can make a big and positive difference to the tribe…
Its all in the attitude!