Why the 800 lb Friendly Gorilla

So why did I choose the 800 Pound Friendly Gorilla as my book’s fraud fighting mascot?  I have come across a lot of interesting information since I began doing research for my book. I spent a lot of time looking up various animals and found the gorilla to be the best fit. Gorillas are a perfect choice because they project an imposing presence yet possess a friendly and caring side. Let’s take a look at some more facts about the gorilla.

Gorillas have been around since the 5th century B.C. I thought it would be interesting to let you know that the largest gorilla ever recorded weighed 638 pounds.  Needless to say, gorillas can be intimidating. But, whether 638 pounds or 800 pounds the gorilla is not a symbol of force. My 800 pound friendly gorilla is imposing but does not use force in place of calm, rational, and proactive communication.

Gorillas live in groups of three to thirty. A group consists of different gorillas of varying age and gender. Most organizational processes operate in teams and are made up of different generations of people. Organizational cultures are unique and diverse. Gorillas act as a community and their leader, the adult male (silverback) gorilla, sets the tone. Gorillas act like people and are often perceived as a force to be reckoned with yet they protect their young and have many human qualities. Some researchers believe gorillas have spiritual feelings or religious sentiments. Interestingly enough gorillas learn how to behave from their mothers and other gorillas. It is so important that the proper ethical tone be displayed by the silverback that leads the others in the group. This is no different than with a board of directors, a CEO or other leaders in an organization who need to set an ethical tone for their organization

So what does a gorilla’s routine consist of?  They wake up between 6am-8am. Then they eat between 8am-10am. Then from 10am-2pm they eat, play, relax, and sleep. Then from 2pm-5pm they travel 300-6,000 feet searching and exploring for food and exercise. Then from 5pm-6pm they build a nest so they can sleep. Gorillas need schedules and structure just like people. Do the people in your organization have structure and direction?

Gorillas walk on all fours with the soles of their feet flat on the ground and the knuckles of their hands curled and planted on the ground. This to me makes then seem well grounded. Organizations need to maintain well-grounded and ethical people. Sometimes you have to crawl before you can walk to develop the correct ethical tone necessary to detect, deter and prevent fraud.

The reason I love 800 Pound Gorillas is that they create the necessary prospection to avoid the necessity to actually use force. When the male silverback adult gorilla stands up and starts beating its chest it is trying to intimidate its enemy so they do not have to fight.  People need to understand the consequences of their actions. The best way to do this is by creating the proper oversight that let’s employees know how to behave ethically.  The Gorilla is smart to avoid conflict and scare off the enemy using communication rather than force. No one wins when the only option is force. Another interesting thing is when gorillas are in distress they have behaviors that include diarrhea and strong body odor. Sound human yet?

My research revealed that gorillas have favorite foods. Some of their favorite foods are bamboo, thistles and wild celery, along with over 200 different types of leaves, tubers, flowers, fruit, fungi, and certain types of insects. Gorillas do not to have to drink water since all the moisture they need comes from all the foliage they consume through food. I thought this was interesting since we are so dependent on water. The gorilla has the ability to adapt around a resource. Organizations are continually being asked to do more with less, and like gorillas need to be good at adapting.

As stated in my book, the 800 Pound Friendly Gorilla loves to communicate and develop an ethical organization by knowing the people in the process with access to the value. The 800 Pound Friendly Gorilla makes sure that responsibilities are only assigned to people in the organization that are trustworthy.

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