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Learning from Animal Nature

Last week an article in the Swiss newspaper Der Bund about “What managers can learn together in a zoo” presented the trainer Lorenz Nufer who uses animals as metaphers and mirrors for managers. In the zoo they study different forms of behaviour and organisation: Wolves have extreme forms of hierarchy and baboons have a lot of conflicts, where you can study how they solve them. Enterprises are not just like zoos, but the way man and gorilla hordes are showing off resembles a lot. Watching animals helps to get a distanced view on one’s own behaviour. Discussing about behaviour forms of animals helps getting blocked forms of communication go again. Behaviour-oriented learning can leave deep traces, but you have to deal with it in the right way and not just like a funny experience. A transfer has to be done in order to get to a deeper understanding. The event of an excursion into a zoo is only an instrument and not a solution by itself.

Many executives react on increased challenges according to the motto “try harder”, and they make increased efforts, which are neither useful for the individual nor for the organisation. Bot the persons concerned don’t get out of that pattern. With an exercise which they cannot solve alone they can be empowered to realise that they have to look for help and not to go on trying by themselves. Those who have really experienced the need for help are likely not to repeat the old patterns.

In spirituality animals are also often used as examples to illustrate the behaviour of man or his different faculties. So the mind is normally compared to a monkey jumping around and very difficult to be controlled. In the Book of Rituals Dr. Krishnamacharya writes: “Since man has crossed the consciousness of all the living beings on this earth during his course of evolution his consciousness contains the association (Vasanas) of all the animals in his behaviour. This is the only possible explanation of the animal behaviour of man.”

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Apes playing in an Indian temple.

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