You are here

Are You Management Chimp or Orang-Utan?

What sort of behaviour do you and your top team need to succeed?Let me explain.  I worked in one of the world's largest Zoos for a long enough time to notice some of the real differences between Chimpanzees and Orang-utans.   Chimps are the most social of all the apes.  They live in communities and exhibit lots of behaviours such as grooming each other and even comfort each other. Orang-utans, on the other hand, are solitary creatures living in the trees and any loyalty displayed is between the mother and offspring.

When considering a Management Buy Out the Private Equity investor will seek a team.  Rarely do they rely on one individual.  They want to spread their risk over a number of key individuals.  Whilst this is the case, it is important that the team is rock solid.  They should analyse their own skills and seek to fill gaps from outside or in co-operation with their investor using a specialist recruitment agency like Equity Quest..

A set of skills and mix of people are not enough.  The MBO team must form a tight bond.  OK, there must be a leader and he or she may be able to climb higher and out perform the others, but if that leader turns into an Orang-utan he will soon find the strength of the team dissipates and be left high and dry.

The Management Buy Out team, even if that team consists of a mix of skills and abilities, (which may be reflected in the shareholding) will always stand the test of time if it is solid, loyal and the members get along socially.  I prefer Orang-utans - they are gentle, intelligent and kind.  However, even though this sounds quite, quite, wrong, I would always back a team of chimps because they are most likely to stand the test of time.

Note:  Orang-utans are endangered mostly because their habitat is being eaten away by development.  Chimpanzees are much higher in numbers - their major threat is hunting for bush meat.