Saying Goodbye to the Hunter and Gatherer Metaphor – Paterson Consulting™

Saying Goodbye to the Hunter and Gatherer Metaphor – Paterson Consulting™

In many business circles, it is common to refer to employees as “hunters” and “gatherers.” It is an old metaphor meant to convey a sense of purpose, but one that is outdated and wrong.


The hunter and gatherer metaphor reduces employees to commodities, while also ignoring the reality of today’s workplace. In this post we will discuss why this metaphor is no longer suitable for modern businesses and provide some alternate metaphors that are more representative of today’s workforce.


The hunter and gatherer metaphor implies that employees are interchangeable cogs in a larger machine. They are expected to do what they are told without question, which is antithetical to any modern organization looking for innovative solutions. Moreover, it suggests that employee contributions only matter if they reach a certain goal or quota; otherwise their work is worthless, regardless of how much effort was put into it or how creative the solution was. This mentality creates a culture of fear rather than one of collaboration and camaraderie.


In contrast, Warren Buffet has famously stated that “in business you don’t get paid for activity; you get paid for being right.” The same should hold true for employees – those who come up with innovative solutions should be rewarded for their efforts regardless if the results were successful or not. This type of thinking encourages creativity and risk-taking without fear of repercussions – something all businesses need in order to remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing market environment.


A better metaphor comes from Osho who said “the real worker is not someone who works hard but someone who works smart.” This idea reflects our modern understanding of work as being both physical and intellectual labour – something that requires critical thinking skills as well as problem-solving capabilities. It also emphasizes creativity over conformity – something all businesses need if they want to stay ahead in today’s competitive landscape. Employees should be seen as partners working together towards common goals – not just cogs in a machine blindly following orders from above.


Referring to employees as hunters and gathers does not accurately reflect the reality of today’s workplace nor does it inspire innovation or collaboration among team members. Businesses need to shift away from this outdated mindset if they want to remain relevant in today’s ever-changing market environment. Instead, companies should focus on rewarding employees for their creativity and intelligence by providing them with the resources necessary for success – both physically and mentally – so that everyone can reach their full potential in the workplace! By doing so, businesses will create a culture where everyone feels inspired to contribute new ideas without fear of failure or ridicule – something essential for any company looking to stay ahead in today’s highly competitive world!


Copyright Wesley Paterson 2023


Interested in enhancing your managers, supervisors, and employees professional skillsets for the modern workforce? Check out our online PM Skills® PMSCP™ Certification and gain essential skills in Communication, Conflict Management, Leadership, Interaction and Engagement, Team Development, Tailoring and Adaptability, Expanding Focus & Alignment, and more!

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