When asked to come
up with a list of the 100 smartest people in the world to put
on your team, it's not likely that you would put many pygmies
on the list.
My step-niece spent
some time with the pygmies and learned a lot about their culture.
One of the things she immediately appreciated was their honesty.
One of the things that took a little longer to appreciate was
their total lack of tact when delivering this honesty.
For example, they told
her that they felt sorry for her since she was so ugly. She's
white, tall (even by western standards) and skinny (by pygmy standards).
She would never get a man to take care of her. However, that did
not stop them from trying to "fix her up." At best she
would command a pig and maybe a chicken thrown in with serious
negotiation in a region where two pigs is the going rate. She
convinced them that her "owner" wasn't interested in
The pygmies also have
the general impression that Americans and Europeans are dumb.
After all, they can't last a whole day out in the jungle on their
own without the pygmies looking after them and keeping them out
And they are right.
The pygmies are "differently
smart" than westerners. Their values are different, and they
see the world entirely different than we do. Yet their point of
view is exceptionally intelligent for the environment in which
they live. They survive and thrive where we fail. They hold the
key to our success in the new environment. I know that I wouldn't
want to go out into the African jungle without a pygmy at my side.
How about you? It's
a jungle out there in the business world. When you pick teammates
for a new project do you look for a few who are "differently