Learning Leadership from Ravens

Ravens: They’re Wise Birds! According to Science Daily, they apparently don’t tolerate cheaters, but they cooperate with other ravens they can trust to be fair! If that’s not a leadership partnership lesson, I don’t know what is!

“In the experiment two ravens had to simultaneously pull the two ends of one rope to slide a platform with two pieces of cheese into reach. If, however, only one individual would pull, the rope would slip through the loops on the platform and the birds were left with the rope and without cheese. Without any training the ravens spontaneously solved this task and cooperated successfully. However, it turned out that they didn’t do equally well with everybody, and that they rather work together with friends than with enemies.”

Who wouldn’t prefer friends to enemies!? Teamwork only works when everyone is part of the team! And good leadership means being part of the team when it’s time to collaborate, not looking out for number one.


Ravens in the study responded by protesting (by defecating) when they were assigned the birds who stole both treat rewards offered the two birds.

It’s a timely message! There are a lot of fake leaders in the news lately, people who want us to pretend they’re team players while they steal other people’s treats. But diligence allows us, when we can, to avoid playing with these bad birds. These are only a few:

-Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is being indicted in New York under RICO for his university scam, and documented accusations of using his sham foundation for solving his personal legal problems and commissioning self-portraits will likely lead to legal problems as well. Bad bird!

-Democratic Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah will be sentenced for federal corruption in October after it was revealed he had stolen funds to repay an illegal campaign loans. He will also resign before his term is complete. Bad bird!

-Corporate CEO Martin Shkreli was forced out of Turing Pharmaceuticals for securities fraud charges, and is now being investigated for raising the price on decades old drugs at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International in order to increase profits more than 500% per pill. Bad bird!

It’s a matter of trust, isn’t it? Informed trust. Experience teaches us that we need leaders on our teams who have our best interests at heart. Ravens know it. So do we. We vote with our wallets, our ballots, and our commitment to a company (a little different from the ravens, but just as effective!)

Here’s to choosing wisely in an age of too many cheaters.



One comment

  1. This is GREAT! (and a lot of exclam points for you).
    Wisdom from the birds: I’ll take it. Now, about that protest….


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