• Image about Marsha Shenk
Anthropologists don't study engineering or finance, which begs this question: Why are companies like Intel and Wells Fargo hiring them? Because the fundamental question in business is, what do people want? And face it, humans are strange creatures; if they weren't, anthropologists wouldn't have jobs. Here's Marsha Shenk, a business anthropologist, explaining what early humans can teach us. - Tracy Staton

Why is there so much interest in business anthropology?
Because everyone's trying to innovate. Since the first human community, people have been figuring out things they hadn't been able to do … [Unfortunately] today's leaders aren't in great shape to set that up.

How did people do it in the past?
They'd notice that, say, I'm able to throw stones at a predator, but I don't remember which herbs are good for a sick child, and you do. I'd ask you for help, and you'd ask me. People would set up exchanges, so they'd get to do what they did well and get help with what they didn't.

Sounds great. Why don't we operate that way?
It's counterintuitive. Most modern Westerners go to schools that teach us to know the answers rather than to be grateful for what others know.

What should savvy managers do, then?
Make it easy for people to make offers to each other. Make it easy for people to admit they aren't doing something well. Then people can do their best work together.

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