My Views on “The Ape in the Corner Office”

“Being lone wolf may sound great, but in wild, lone wolf actually dies first.”

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I listen to this Ape in Corner office Audiobook long back. Its tough to recall exact analogies discussed by writer Richard Conniff, luckliy I had few points written on my linkedin blog post, so I sort of resharing them here.

Personally, The Ape in the Corner Office provide more insight on what we see and observe in our day to day work life. Comparing office life with animal behavior and getting management lesson from primitive species is last place anyone can think of. (Although after finishing book, I can firmly stop calling humans as ‘advanced’. May be we are simply ‘less primitive’). But writer Richard Conniff, did provide us with key patterns which we can verify ourselves in practical. Still in doubt, refer below key take aways,

  • Dominance and Hierarchy: Our hunger for dominant role in office and a fancy title on desk is deeply rooted inside our genome since beginning of Human evolution. Animals like Apes or Elephant follow similar order, where alpha male or female in herd have last say in matter from food to shelter.
  • Reconcilation: Despite projecting corporate world as ruthless and selfish, more often we see people going up the ladder are those who know how to reconcile and work together. Being lone wolf may sound great, but in wild, lone wolf actually dies first.
  • Self Organization: Organization needn’t be requiring micro-management if employees are driven towards common goal by themselves. Termites don’t have Queen or King, yet they build complex structures, just by working together with one common goal.
  • Less Predatory, More Opportunistic: One of widely used example when boosting confidence before client meeting is “Kill them like piranha”. In wild though, piranha don’t really go on killing spree, rather they swim with bigger fish to stay away from other predators and wait for right oppurtunity to get food themselves. Its saves lot of effort if instead of just running blindly, we just hold and wait for right time to grab our chance.

My take, please read this book if you are interested in light hearted analogies between zoology and office politics.

Disclaimer: I am just a reader next door and opinion above are just my views and learning from this book.


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