Leadership Lessons from the Great Pyramids – PART 1 of 2

Evidence uncovered by Faunal experts Redding and Lehner prove it…

It was not slaves who built the great pyramids. It was gangs of motivated, dedicated, and well organized individuals who had a purpose…

…And over 4500 years later, when viewing the astonishing accomplishments of the great pyramid builders through modern Directive Communication psychology, we find patterns. And the pyramids themselves conceal a mysterious code that illuminates the force of superior leadership.

The illuminating wealth of this systematic leadership proficiency was developed over centuries. It took hundreds of years to perfect, but only one dynasty to destroy.

The first pyramids were built inside mountains or were crude structures that withered with time, the skill had not yet been developed to erect the timeless monuments which still stand today.

Yet, as architects and planners came up with new ideas for better structures, the skill to implement these ideas had to be cultivated. And so it was.

The foundations of Pyramid building was founded in skill

Yet, as theses skills developed, stronger structures were built. But, they took a long time to construct and were not very significant. They had a good appearance, but lacked in function and durability. They had no where near the prominence of the great pyramids. They were mediocre.

One of the more important Pyramid Failures can give an insight to organizational breakdown in a structural metaphor. This was the Pyramid at Meidum built for Pharaoh Seneferu. Today it lays in ruins and toppled blocks. This early attempt failed because of one simple factor that skilled stonework had not yet foreseen. Each of the carved stones were laid as individual blocks, with one piled on top of the other. These gave way to earthquakes and strong weather conditions over time and the structure fell apart.

Since Skill was the foundation of progress, it needed to be further developed. So leaders and architects directed and supervised the development of the structures.

It wasn’t till later that the Egyptians learned that by slanting the stones inward toward the center of the structure that things changed. The structure supported itself.

So the architects knew this must have been a sign from Amenhotep (the Egyptian god of architecture and construction) and it was revealed to them that skill was not enough. The teams of people who built these structures needed more, they needed to support each other and not work as a collection of individuals, but as a group with a purpose.

The discovery that skill was not enough

With skill, people were working as individuals. And as individuals, were primarily driven by personal motives, the payment they would receive, how much time they needed to work, how many days off they would get, what was going on at home while they were working. To develop the cohesive structure the Pyramid needed to be, they needed to develop a cohesive workforce first. They needed to develop the cohesive “Attitude”

So the Pharaoh’s planners and architects set out to cultivate this “Attitude” that was a message from the heavens.

According to Lehner, Egyptian society maintained a Social order that required everybody, no matter what rank, to owe service to the people above them. This was known as “Bak”.

Today’s employees owe service to their organization because they receive a salary. It doesn’t guarantee they will do a good job. In the same light, “Bak” was only a means to recruit people for construction, not for the formation of a superior workforce with mind-set to create an edifice that will last thousands of years.

Think about it, it’s a project that’s only used when your boss is dead. And then, as long as it’s standing while you’re still alive, it looks like you and your colleges have done a great job.

So why put in the extra effort?

A modern study at Stanford University took the most successful people in various vocations and made a startling discovery. Across 100 of the studied vocations, it seemed that most successful people in those professions attributed only about 20% of their success to skill. The study quoted “the primary reason for extraordinary success is due to Attitude, not skill”. The top sales people recognized only 14% of their success was due to skill, the rest was attitude. The top structural engineers, in a very skill based profession, indicated that only 22% was skill, the rest was attitude.

So how did the Egyptians cultivate the attitudes required to manifest the great pyramids?

The secret lies in expectation and reciprocity.

Bak was expected from everybody. The reward for Bak was that someone below you would give you back some Bak (and even the lowest ranks had “someone” below them at one point). Just like a job, you are expected to work and your reward is a paycheck. So when people started to feel they got something extra, more than was expected, their psychology changed. They WANTED to do a better job, they wanted to “Reciprocate” the extra value they were getting.

There were the normal actions like defrayed taxes (there was no money system at the time) and extra free time for segments of the population that could not spend in their homes or farms due to the annual flooding of the Nile. But that wasn’t enough.

The leaders looked at the situation and came up with a solution – Food.

Pharaoh deemed massive amounts of clover fed cattle to be cultivated for the purpose of feeding the workers the tastiest, finest beef to be found on the continent. Workers were fed like royalty.

This served two purposes:

1. It gave the workers a sense of importance and significance. They ate only the best and felt appreciated in the process

2. It provided a superior source of protein to make the workers stronger which in turn provided better performance. And they also felt better about themselves and their increased ability

In the context of today’s organizations, this is NOT the equivalent of giving more money or increasing salary. Back then it was physical strength that created a “better man”. Today it’s the mental strength that is most precious. The opportunity for individuals to develop their talents and intellectual ability.

What was superior beef in Ancient Egypt, is now Superior Training or Personal development in today’s business environment.

An important thing to consider: if the workers were feed the normal, not so tender beef, the effect wouldn’t have been the same. Why? – because it WASN’T SPECIAL!

So if management decides to engage average trainers to save money, they will actual be getting less psychological value for money. It is also essential to reinforce the extra value.

For example a church in Singapore has risen to a parish of over 18,000 members within a reasonably short time partially because they often invite special preachers from other countries to came and speak. They are quite upfront that they pay these guests about S$20,000 for their contribution, and the turnouts are tremendous. But that’s not all, more people get the message and act on it, and it grows the church at an exponential rate. If the workforce knows the lengths, efforts, and even expense the company goes through for the benefit of making them “Special” or “The Best”, there will be a greater interest and achievement for those efforts.

The result is an attitude that cultivates people working together as groups with a strong sense of self worth. Leaders do not need to direct or supervise; they need only to give guidance (usually in the form of questions).

But…

…While this attitude was enough to build the smaller Pyramids (like that of King Sneferu), the largest, grandest, and the only of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world still standing, with a height of 450 feet and 756 feet square: The Great Pyramid of Khufu, needed more than just a great attitude.

Read more on PART 2