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Is your company in reverse?

posted 15 Nov 2010, 05:15 by Terry Wilcox

Many companies are ignoring the latest evolutional human driver and are actually promoting an attitude used to exist in the stone-age. They are promoting an environment where thought is given to only the individual, the needs of the one rather than the many moving us back to thinking like a Neanderthal. The Theory of Excellence (THE) founder shares his thoughts on this subject.  

I was taking my dogs for their early morning walk today and was inspired by one of my next door neighbours. He was driving round our little village giving out Thai sweets made from rice.  He stopped next to me on his bike and handed me six carefully folded banana leaves. I asked if he wanted money in my best Thai and he smiled and said no thanks. Then he proceeded down one of the driveways of another neighbour to deliver to them. For some reason this made me think of the western world, companies and their influence on life!

I started to ponder how in evolutionary biology, people often speak of the four Fs, which are said to be the four basic drivers or states of mind that animals (including humans) are evolutionarily adapted to focus upon: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and reproduction. The last of these is obviously not literally an F word, but is tongue-in-cheek reference to fornication or the other more commonly used 'F word'. However, the Theory of Human Excellence, which focuses upon applying the latest developments in neuroscience within business, states that human evolution, has moved on and now there are five F's. The four F's mentioned above are reinforced by Dopamine and are based on individual success. The last F in this new innovative theory is for Family, which is the very latest part of the human brain's evolution and is Oxytocin based.  This neighbour was driven by his fifth F and receiving an enormous amount of pleasure delivering his gifts. He was looking after his extended family, which was our small village. It made me reflect on how we humans live now, what our future holds, and how companies are actually taking us backwards.

The human race moved from hunter-gathers to farmers. Going from day to day existence of catching what was required to eat to a planned life based on the seasons and supporting each other.  We shifted our time thought horizon from days to years considering what to plant and when, what animals to keep, and looking after each-others children whist other parents worked on other areas of the commune. The village was born and so were professions, work, skills and jobs. It was all based around the family. Being social. Caring for each other rather than just yourself. The extended family was our new way of life, including neighbours and animals. The human brain adapted and started rewarding giving, caring and social interaction. Laughing, cheering,
clapping, team work, empathy, generosity, caring prospered in every areas of our existence. We became socially orientated.

I then reflected on a chap I knew quite well who had totally focussed on the success of his company and ignored his children. This total and utter focus on the four F's cost him his family. I also thought about the current workplace. A sterile environment of nine till five with strictly controlled breaks. Clocking in and out. Sitting in cubicles answering phones. Glass walls to protect the employees from the very people they are interacting with. All the things that evolution has given us to enjoy the last F being sucked out of every factory or office. Then I thought about a recent documentary on the TV of a drinks company that wanted to employ the best. They had a ping pong table and a bar football table in the restaurant that was also used for meetings, and artificial grass on the floor. They focused on a great working environment and paid for their employee's children to attend university. I also thought about Google's free time for their employees to develop whatever they wanted and work with who they wanted. So, there was still hope for the human race with regards to work. Therefore, the question is easy for all CEO's, directors and business leaders - are you evolving or are you going backwards to a world driven by only four F's. Are you benefiting from the fifth - the real driver?