I read this today in the Times of India. It's about how one can learn better management from dogs. The management gurus who are championing this pioneering initiative have a lot to say. "You never see dogs frowning, or stressed out, or most important, sitting in mindlessly long meetings." You don't, now, do you? But when I got to this one "Finding happiness is a natural talent for dogs, but it’s not so easy for the rest of us" I thought it was time for a deeper think.
I am of the opinion that dogs get most of their happiness from sniffing the private regions of other dogs. I haven't studied the subject deeply, of course, its just an informed guess. While it would liven up the corporate world immensely to have various levels of management in the same office sniffing each other's behinds, I don't think it is the right way to improve the quality of management thought. Vijay Mallya, to take a random example, could hardly take the sort of audacious decisions that have built the UB group if he constantly had a bunch of subordinates sniffing his backside. So that is one aspect of canine behaviour that is probably not going to contribute to excellence in the organization.
The second big dog thing is to pee on various items. This is probably very de-stressing - dogs really look blissful - but again, in the boardroom, my gut-feeling says it is not going to work. Most financial reports are printed on HP desk jets and the ink runs when wet. If people are going to pee all over them, the CEO might miss a key ratio and sniff the wrong person's backside. No, this won't work either.
The more I think about this, in fact, the more I am convinced that the noble Times of India is pulling our leg by suggesting that better management skills can be acquired by imitating the dumb chums. I'm no management expert but I'm quite sure biting one's colleagues, barking at visitors and pooping in public have no place in the book on sound business practices.
There is one dog behavior, though, that is thought to be the key behind rapid growth in the organization. That is cringing and wagging one's tail in the presence of superiors. It's more complicated than it looks, of course, and one constantly runs the risk of getting bitten, but once your superior lets you sniff his behind, you are on the fast track.