As you'll see in this news story from today, this skull threatens to re-write the annals of human evolution. As I understand it, we have previously had fragments of skull from this time period. From these we've extrapolated theories about human development, using computer modelling and simulation tools to build up a picture of the skulls that may have contained those fragments.
From this we have concluded over the last few decades, that there were up to 3 types of hominid species on the planet at that time. Our logic based computer generated algorithmic projections confirmed this... and we always know our computers are right, don't we!
If there was any doubt about that, we'd have sayings like;
'Crap in = crap out'
'Computer says no!'
So, sarcasm aside, this new skull suggests that those theories were just that, computer modelled theories!
With the new view provided by the whole skull found in Georgia, it now seems far more likely the fragments we had previously found and based our theories on were just representative of natural variation of a single species; just as modern day human skulls differ in size and shape, so did the skulls of different individuals 'back in the day'.
This serves as an excellent example of just how wrong we can get things when trying to build up a picture from small bits of information. Seeing things out of context inevitably leads to the wrong conclusions, on which we can mistakenly base our own theories for years.
And that, in principle, is a big lesson for leaders.
With our approach to politics, education, organisational structure and the hierarchy we automatically accept as part of our inherited beliefs in a command and control based approach to leadership, we build our education system and companies to be certified and departmentalised (essentially the same thing, just with different language from different sectors), ensuring those with a certificate in a subject or a specialism in a function, remain focused on their own small fragment of the big picture.
Sector specific experience becomes pre-requisite and mandatory in this world, ensuring there is rarely any cross-over of knowledge between sectors on a national scale, & on a local scale, no cross-over of 'knowledge' in organisations full of departmentalised siloed skills.
Higher level leaders typically task department heads to attain projected outcomes based on KPI's that fail to connect directly to the strategic view or the philosophy of the leaders (and therefore, work to targets which fail to provide 'context'); This is typical and typically because this issue of 'context' isn't understood or taken seriously enough.
(We seem to have stopped valuing an holistic view from broad experience in favour of specialised qualification. We also seem to forget that this word, 'wisdom' often accompanies broad and diverse experience, as our pattern seeking brains are designed to draw analogy across decades and recognise principles in different circumstances from different experience).
With command and control firmly imprinted across generations, we culturally accept the systematic pursuit of this indoctrinated and encouraged development of 'narrow thinking'. In so doing, we include a fundamental disconnect which causes strained communications across hierarchical layers of our organisations.
With their department and function specific education and experience, we expect the department heads to be able to set the right targets and make the right decisions in their departments, on behalf of the company, but we fail to provide 'Context'. (Not to mention the issues of 'Telling' our experts what we see as important, rather than 'asking' our experts for their expert opinions to engender engagement and ownership - another huge aspect of an enormous subject).
However, if we consider this issue of 'Context', even if only briefly, it is not hard to realise it emerges from a clearly communicated and inter-connected strategy, i.e. a clearly understood view of the big picture... or, if you prefer, A 'Whole skull' perspective. Without the 'Whole Skull', it becomes obvious that the best we can hope for, from our reports, is the same kind of conclusions our 'departmentalised' palaeontologists of the world have concluded for decades about the origins of Man.