Just like you and me, sharks have their own set of personality traits, and these attributes have set both species apart as apex predators. In honor of one of the greatest weeks featuring our misconstrued finned friends from the sea, TV’s Shark Week, let’s discuss the parallels shared between sharks and job titles of corporate America.
Great White Shark | CEO
Two of the most popular figures within their respective domains, the great white and CEO are highly visible. Much of how people judge a company comes from the public perception of its CEO. The same is true for great white sharks, especially after the iconic 1975 movie, Jaws. Since Steven Spielberg’s beloved thriller, public perception was that every shark is a man-eating killer, just like the film’s shark antagonist.
Aside from the public spotlight, the two are active leaders within their defined areas. The great white is one of the most active sharks and can exceed 20 feet in length and weigh over two tons! CEOs are actively running their company and, many times, play the largest role in their organization. They make critical strategic decisions to place the company on its chartered course toward growth, profitability and transparency.
People are fascinated and intrigued by CEOs, just as they are the great white. There’s a reason the great white starred in Jaws, just as the CEO is the star in corporate America.
Bull Shark | CFO
Adaptability and strategy are the name of the game for CFOs. They face enormous pressures while protecting vital financial assets of the company, aligning business and finance strategies, and growing the business. Their adaptability is tested as they hold the key to financial solvency throughout their organization.
Like the bull shark’s ability to survive in both freshwater and saltwater environments, CFOs must be well-versed in many critical elements of the business, from finance to production to human capital management. With so much at stake tied to their performance, you can forgive them for possessing a little of the bull shark’s territorial nature.
Nurse Shark | HR
Similar to the roles of an HR professional, the nurse shark plays a vital role in its delicate marine ecosystem. The nurse shark is seen patrolling the reef floor where it cleans and preys on crustaceans and other marine life that otherwise would overpopulate the ocean. HR professionals often are seen cleaning up and maintaining employee documents and government compliance records regarding OSHA, FMLA, ACA and the list goes on and on.
In many offices, it is typical for HR professionals to be the voice of the organization; they are social beings who plan holiday parties while also administering benefits and welcoming new hires. Nurse sharks hang out in large groups, sometimes of 40 or more. They gather to help their fellow nurse shark, just as HR is there to aid their fellow employees.
Hammerhead Shark | Recruiting
The hammerhead shark is the recruiter of the open waters. Hammerheads are very social and take their job – hunting – very seriously.
Hammerheads are unique, as their eyes are set on the outer edges of their wide heads, allowing them a vertical, 360-degree view. This, coupled with their keen sense of smell, allows them to easily find prey.
Recruiters, too, possess a 360-degree view of not only their organizational needs, but also talent that exists outside of its walls. Recruiters use a number of media to source for candidates, including job boards and social media sites, but they also must rely on a strong applicant tracking system that filters the right guy or gal for the job.
Mako Shark | Sales
If you are in sales or ever have been contacted by a sales rep, you know it is all about being aggressive and timely. Many people say that the best sales reps are those who possess a “hunter’s mentality.” This means they are excited to catch the “big fish” and they do so with endless preparation, drive and mental fortitude. Like the fastest of the shark species, sales reps, too, are quick to strike up a conversation and must move promptly when closing a deal.
Makos are incredibly agile and have been recorded at speeds of 40-plus mph. Like sales reps, makos can cover a lot of territory; they have been known to venture as far as 1,300 miles in a little over a month.
Sharks in the Workplace
Sharks and business professionals are not so different. Both share a number of characteristics that help make them successful at life, whether on land or at sea. These varied species of sharks have unique traits that complement each other in much the same way as humans’ corporate structure.
This article was originally published July 7, 2015 on the Paycom blog.