What if Darwin was Wrong?

by Brenda Marshall



Interesting question…and guess what, apparently he was.  "Survival of the fittest" is not pre-wired into our genes.  According to several key researchers in Tom Shadyac’s movie I AM, it's actually the opposite.  Apparently it’s in our DNA to strive for cooperation, connect with others and be empathetic.  Think about the last time you felt pure joy at work – when you felt a surge of contentment and connection with the people around you.  I’ll bet it wasn’t when you “met your numbers” and came out on top of your peers. 


I remember my first boss and the team I was part of.  We ate together most days.  We went out at night after work.  We shared our workload – if one was swamped, others jumped into help.  And our boss, Shelley, used to make cookies and bring them to our team meetings.  Imagine – a boss that made cookies. And yet these small gestures reinforced a key message.  I care.  She knew who each of us was – what mattered to us personally – and gave us feedback that helped us progress and grow.  And through that leadership, she fostered a sense of teamwork that I never experienced in quite the same way again. 


Shelley was a transformational leader.  She worked with people at a personal level – and through that connection – helped them achieve professionally.  Our team was incredibly productive and our sense of unity noticeable.  We laughed a lot.  I think Shelley was ahead of her time or maybe she just didn’t know any better. In any case it’s been almost 25 years – and that experience stays with me.  What memories are you leaving with your team?

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"the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity." (Mihály Csíkszentmihályi)

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