This blog is going to have surfing, snowboarding, tech stuff and maybe some 'meaning of life' stuff if I'm feeling particularly stoked.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Dolphins Got Soul

This piece from Australia prompted some discussion on the intelligence of dolphins and I took some stick in work for suggesting that dolphins were not only smart, but more importantly, they had soul.

A quick search of the web revealed that this notion of soul is very much connected to dolphins and in particular the "shark vs dolphin" metaphor is used to describe two distinct personality types.

Not only is this metaphor common but it has often been applied to corporations (Sharks to Dolphins : The Search for the Corporate Soul) and indeed corporate politics. In their book, Swim With The Dolphins, Connie Glaser & Barbara Steinberg Smalley talk about sharks as:

[They] are stern taskmasters who relish power. Their approach is strictly top-down, leaving no doubt whatsoever about who’s in charge. They bark orders to their subordinates, expecting obedience and loyalty in return.... In fact, because sharks think with their heads, and not with their hearts, they are oblivious to employees’ needs and desires.

Whereas they characterise Dolphins as:

Supremely gifted motivators. Excellent communicators. Acutely intelligent. Warm-blooded and friendly.... In contrast to sharks, dolphins prefer operating in webs rather than in hierarchies. They seek respect (rather than obedience) from subordinates and recognize that loyalty cannot be commanded; it must be earned.... Dolphins are extremely intuitive and constantly tuned in to employees’ needs and desires.

I reckon I see sharks and dolphins every day in my line of work and I know which ones I'd rather go swimming with!

BTW Dolphins Surf.


[Update] There are no waves on the North Coast today, hence this "meaning of life" post.