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The Binturongs – How To Become A Keystone Species In Your Work Environment

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 24, 2010 in Career Path, Executive Coaching, Self Improvement

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BinturongThe jungle is full of animals that play different ecological roles. Some play more critical roles than others, and there are some animals, known as keystone species, that actually maintain the structure of their ecological communities. Without them, communities become unstable and can even start to die off one species at a time. The loss of a keystone species often sets off a chain reaction that ends in a community’s destruction because it’s impossible for the other animals to replicate the functions performed by the keystone species. To get a better understanding of how a keystone species becomes so important to an entire ecological community, let’s take a look at the following example.

The Indispensable Binturong

Binturongs, or Asian bear cats, are now a target species for conservation because of their important role in sustaining the rainforest environment. They perform a task that can’t be accomplished by any other animal, which makes them an asset that the community can’t afford to lose. Binturongs are the only known animals on the planet that have digestive enzymes capable of softening the seed coat of the Strangler Fig. So what? Well, the Strangler Fig also has an indispensable role: without it, the rainforest canopy is unsustainable. And without a canopy, everything growing on the forest floor is exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight, resulting in diminished plant life and a quickly evaporating food supply for herbivores. This chain reaction can go so far as to kill entire rainforest communities if binturongs are not reintroduced.

Becoming the Binturong in Your Rainforest

So how do you become an irreplaceable employee? It’s a growing concern in this economy, with layoffs removing many species from the rainforests and jungles. But there are ways to make sure that your boss won’t even consider eradicating you: become the binturong with these tips.

1. Increase your productivity – If you were a binturong, you’d be busy all day long eating those Strangler Figs and distributing seeds. Find out what needs to be accomplished in your own environment and make sure that you’re the one getting it done. Of course, you can’t do everything, but delegating and building yourself up within the community’s hierarchy will get you on your way to becoming a keystone species.

2. Adapt to meet demands – Binturongs are focused on survival, which keeps their ecological communities alive as a result. Start thinking about your ability to survive without your company. Chances are that you’ll develop some skills that can be used to elevate your status at work. For example, stay updated on technological developments that can increase workplace efficiency, identify and improve weak skills, and join professional organizations so you can attend workshops and conferences. By listening to your survival instincts, you’ll be improving and sustaining your entire ecological community.

3. Interact with key species – Even if you’re a keystone species, you still have to answer to your boss. Let him or her know how invaluable you are by increasing the amount of time you spend together. Isolated species are seldom community keystones, so increasing your interaction with the animals around you can make you appear more integral to the sustainability of your environment. Help colleagues and superiors to recognize your importance by becoming more visible and giving more face time while maintaining a high level of productivity.

Guest post contributed by Alexis Bonari. Alexis is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She spends much of her days blogging about Education and CollegeScholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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