Two camels (a mother and a baby) were lazing around, when suddenly the baby camel said: “Mother, mother, can I ask you a question? The mother camel replied, “Sure! Why son, is something bothering you?”
Baby: “Why do camels have humps?”
Mother: “Well son, we are desert animals, we need the humps to store water, and we are known to survive without water for a long time.”
Baby: “Okay, then why are our legs long and our feet rounded?”
Mother: “Son, obviously they are meant for walking in the desert. You know with these legs we can move around the desert better than anyone.”
Baby: “Okay, then why are our eyelashes long? Sometimes they bother my sight.”
Mother: “My son, those long, thick eyelashes are your protective cover. They help to protect your eyes from the desert sand and wind.”
Baby: “I see. So the hump is to store water when we are in the desert, the legs are for walking through the desert, and these eyelashes protect my eyes from the desert. Then what the hell are we doing here in a zoo?”
A zoo is an unnatural habitat. A zoo’s primary focus is not on its constituents, but on providing value to its paying customers.
Human resources power the Knowledge industry. Yet, service organizations often focus less on their employees, and more on shortcuts to appease their demanding customers. For instance, Design Architects are frequently used for coding tasks, Technical Leads for people management roles, Automation Engineers for manual testing, specialized COE resources for generic programming, and so on. In the long run, such organizations turn into ‘zoos’ with a continuous dilution of employee core strengths.
Sure, it is difficult to always guarantee a perfect mapping of skills with tasks. But if the intent is right, a mature organization will exercise self-discipline over short-term greed. The end result is a ‘civilized’ institution that delivers consistent value to all its stakeholders.