How did society arrange itself the way it is today? A society where some people have too much power and others have simply relinquished their quest for power. Where did the hierarchies come from?
This book looks deeper into these questions by examining modern societies, including factors like technology, vis-a-vis societies of old.
Doing so lays down who the leaders are in society, and the followers. It doesn’t mean all leaders are good. So what makes a leader worthy to be followed?
This summary will tell you:
1. Why hotel employees are trained to sacrifice their lives for guests.
2. How letting employees use company resources freely can be really good for the company.
3. How you can wind up electrocuting someone when faced with certain conditions.
4. How, unbeknownst to you, you’re an addict.
5. How to be a real leader.
Our Biology Dictates Our Need For Hierarchy And Leadership
Did you ever wonder how societies have been divided into leaders and followers? Some people answer the question from a biological perspective.
Hormones. It’s said that our hormones have evolved over long periods to help us survive. Our hormones affect our present more than we may think.
Dopamine rewards us with happiness when we finish a task, like finding what we’re searching for, or achieving a target weight. Serotonin and oxytocin help us form relationships with other humans.
Endorphins, letting us think pain and exhaustion are pleasurable. It’s probably the reason why we have that gym glow after we’ve worked the weights section. If our cavemen ancestors had the means to inject endorphins at will in the past, they would’ve hunted for meat to no end. Today, endorphins are responsible for powering athletes like runners to peak.
Behavior driven by hormones have also established an entrenched social hierarchy.
In hunter-gatherer times, a rush of endorphins would fuel hunters to get meat and be crowned with a higher status. Weaker individuals had to settle for less than high goals, like stocking on fruits.
Maybe you can stock up on granola bars, cereal, junk food, noodles, canned food, instead of the non-perennial fruits, vegetables, and freshly-cooked meals.
The assigning of who was strong and who was weak was the beginning of the establishing of the social hierarchy. Hormones hold this structure together when weak individuals feel a rush of oxytocin towards a leader instead of jealousy.
The Leader’s Job Is To Make Everyone Feel Secure
The best advantage of living in a group is not having to face dangers alone.
This gives us safety and makes us concentrate on progress than merely dodging threats. There was zoological danger everywhere in the past. The main predators were animals. Other times it was disease. And on top of these threats, our ancestors also had to secure food and shelter, without a refrigerator or anything.
Group living allows us to preserve our friends, family, neighbors, guys, and suppliers. These make for great societies. Our brains have also learned to prioritize, which explains weird behavior like staying in a teaching job our whole lives, or being a librarian our whole lives, or a driver.
But safety doesn’t just appear accidentally. Now, it’s the sum of a group’s leaders efforts for their community.
People who share common beliefs form a circle of safety. In this circle, members trust each other, and share resources to achieve progress.
It’s the leader who determines the area of the circle. Bob Chapman for example, improved his company’s circle of safety by allowing employees access to company goods and services. Working in a safe environment creates a bond between employees who have helped each other in dire times. Some go the extra mile by sacrificing vacation days for community needs.
Living in a group not only makes us feel secure, it makes us feel cool, to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves, and people who you trust will do the retribution when a wrong is incited. We need leaders who pool resources together and achieve progress.
The Leader Decides Company Culture, Values, And Mentality
The image of a CEO is someone who seals deals and gets the cash in the bank. But running a company sometimes has to mean instilling a culture that ensures there will be no leaks in the company finances.
A company is more than its buildings, investors, and employees. It’s also a culture that will tell employees how to approach problems like over-ordering food, and buying too many gadgets, or the need to chip in when someone gets hospitalized. The culture will also tell members how to treat customers, develop values, and how to pass on this ethical culture.
Goldman Sachs showed the world how it was done. Even at the cost of financial losses, its CEO shifted its employee focus away from the client to short-term profits, a big change from the old motto, “long term greedy.”
Company culture doesn’t only affect the CEO, it trickles all the way down to the person on the bottom of the payroll, so people get to stay in the company.
This culture is evident in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel who went to unbelievable lengths to put guests’ interests over the company’s.
In 2008, they were attacked by terrorists, and employees who exited the building returned to help the guests inside. Half the people who died that day were hotel staff.
Now that you know what the Leaders Eat Last book is all about, let’s take a deep dive into the biggest key insights and how you can apply them to get the results you truly want in your life.