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15.12.2011 Feature Article

Corporate leaders must learn this from Christmas tree

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No one can ever say that they have not seen a real Christmas tree, not even the non-Christians can claim so. The Christmas trees belong to the group of conifers or pines. They generally grow in high altitude temperate regions of the globe. The term conifer is largely self-explanatory as they grow in a conical manner. The conifer trees can be easily identified by their unique and very typical shape.

Why the pine trees grow like a cone or an inverted funnel? This question can be answered very easily from biological or evolutionary point of view. But can we draw a strong and relevant corporate management message/principle from the inverted funnel shaped growth pattern of pine trees?

Pine trees grow largely on sloppy regions. They have to manage successfully the threat of wind when they grow on a sloppy surface. However strong the root system may be, an additional balance to the tree through its areal architecture is inevitable for its survival in such regions. Only the areal parts of the plants have to manage the wind or storm.

Knowing fully well about the risk management requirement for the conifers only the evolution has favoured such unique shape to them. The balance power should rest at the base and the top portion of the tree should not be made to suffer the wind velocity. When trees grow like an inverted funnel, they can easily escape and or manage heavy wind even in the sloppy surface.

The management learning the corporate must filter out from the morphological architecture of conifers is that every corporate has to wade through or manage competition continuously. Conifers cannot expect or argue the wind to be very gentle and friendly to it. Hence it has designed itself in such a way to meet the worst wind. Similarly no corporate can ever philosophize a competition free environment.

Corporate need to bring all needed changes to deal the competition. The interesting thing is that the lower portions of the pine trees carry wind pressure only then the top portion of the tree can escape from the wind velocity. The entire burden and weight of the corporate are largely lies on managers and the lower order employees. They are the one who offer protection and immunity to the top bosses as well as growth to most of the organizations.

The irony is that only the top bosses are paid more and the employees at managers and below are made always at the whip lash of these top brasses. But pine trees never do such discrimination as it supplies more water and nutrients to the branches in the lower region than those at the top.

Another interesting thing worth mention is about the leaf architecture of pine trees. Pine tree leaves are generally designed as needle shaped and hence they can also offer a slip to the wind and hence can protect the trees.

Corporate must include the conifer management principle in its culture only then it could walkthrough competition.

S. Ranganathan, Dr.
S. Ranganathan, Dr., © 2011

Dr.S RanganathanColumn: SRanganathan

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