Wednesday, August 5, 2009

After a long hiatus: Chimp Lessons

A few years ago, a special experience with some chimpanzees who had just been released from life in a research facility inspired me to write down some lessons I’ve learned from the many hours I’ve spent watching and studying chimpanzees. Some colleagues encouraged me to share these lessons on my blog. So here goes:

What Chimpanzees Have Taught Me About Surviving (and Thriving) in a Corporation

  1. 1. Whether you spend most of your time in a group or on your own, you are part of a larger community.
  2. 2. Build alliances.
  3. 3. Keep track of who grooms whom.
  4. 4. Know which trees bear fruit … and when.
  5. 5. From time to time you need to display some attitude.
  6. 6. Know when to stop screaming.
  7. 7. Sometimes the bully wins.
  8. 8. Dominance is temporary.
  9. 9. Be resilient.

Lesson #6 was actually the first I wrote down. It was inspired by a chimpanzee named Hannah who was having a difficult time during introductions to her new group at Save The Chimps. You can learn more about Hannah and work of Save The Chimps at their newly redesigned website, which has lots of great videos.