Corporate Palaeontology – Digging Up The Dinosaurs In Your Boardroom

Written by EO Executives on Mar 01, 2017

Dinosaurs ultimately went extinct due to their inability to adapt to changes in their environment. We are now seeing the emergence of corporate dinosaurs in the boardroom who threaten to make your company a quickly forgotten, deeply buried fossil site… so how can you spot them?

Now before readers start lambasting me for age discrimination - think again.  I have met (and work with) social media guru’s, entrepreneurs and level 5 leaders in their late 50’s and 60’s who embrace the madness of the modern business world and are agile enough to thrive in it.  The Dinosaurs in the boardroom come in all shapes and sizes and are not clearly identifiable by age, gender or race but reveal themselves through behaviours and mind set.

Heads of HR and Leadership Development rightly spend a lot of time nurturing and producing future leaders from as early on as graduate level but are we doing enough to ensure that the individuals at the top are well placed to succeed behaviourally?

Having spent over 10 years working in Executive Recruitment I have been lucky to work with the best leaders across sector and job function, and the prevalence of dinosaurs in senior roles is staggering. We have now changed our entire service offering to help clients identify executive talent with the right behaviours, as having the wrong person sat in the boardroom can be hugely damaging.

So if you want to undertake your own corporate palaeontology and dig up the dinosaurs in your boardroom, here are some of the more destructive species to keep an eye out for:

The T-Rex

Aggressive and unrelenting in nature the T-Rex in your boardroom is a sociopath who cares little for people. Their approach is to dominate by force leaving a trail of demotivated teams and HR issues throughout the organisation. They are hugely damaging and enjoy conflict and preying on the weak, resulting in dysfunction and lack of value alignment.

The Velociraptor

Expert scavengers with larger than average brains and sharp claws; they don’t ever hunt or produce anything themselves but wait for others to do the work before swooping in at the last minute and stealing the spoils. 

These are the expert politicians who take credit instead of giving it, have been promoted due to tenure and not hard work and who often provide an unnecessary barrier to progress.

The Stegosaurus

These heavily armoured executives are an example of resilience gone badly wrong.  They are heavyweight, change resistant and expert survivors who don’t know when to quit or heed ground - which is often to the detriment of both the company and themselves.  

The Pterodactyl

These high flying birds are nomadic and totally disconnected from what’s happening on the ground.  The Pterodactyl will not be able to get to the heart of issues in the business and see themselves as operating above the business as opposed to in it.

These executives struggle with execution and fly away back to their lofty nest at the first sight of any issues or hard work.  In the modern workplace where it is vital to lead by example, this type of executive dinosaur will quickly lose respect internally and disengage the workforce.

The Argentinosaurus

The largest Dinosaur and the hardest to address as unlike the others they are often very likable.   Argentinosaurus have deep histories and are often friendly and placid without being an immediate organisational threat.

The issue is that this type of executive takes up a lot of space and are not very agile or energised when confronted with change.  Any new idea or initiative takes a very long time to digest as it has to travel over 50 feet from their brain to their body before any movement can happen.  These outdated and heavyweight herbivore executives have lost their teeth and are happier plodding along which can cause serious cultural bottlenecks. 

What Next?

If you identify any of the above dinosaurs in your boardroom then you need to adapt and fast.  Don’t limit the evolution of your company, download our ‘Eliminating Deception To Make Better Hires’ and learn the tricks and techniques you can use to make better hires!

hire smarter, find better candidates

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