Business lessons from the wild

For my holiday this year, I had the pleasure of visiting the African bush for a few weeks. Seeing the big 5 is always a privilege, but what really struck me was just how perfectly nature is balanced, which led me to think about, how my observations can best be used in our everyday working lives.

Nature can be pretty harsh as every day is literally a matter of life and death. Although I wouldn’t advocate quite such a ruthless approach in business (unless by exception!) perhaps we can learn a few of the simple lessons:

Make it as easy for yourself as possible.

Animals don’t waste any time and energy doing unnecessary tasks (a lion sleeps up to 20 hours a day). Ask ‘why’ 5 times when you are deciding on a particular course of action. Establish how your business can avoid wasted time and effort and review it regularly, the least you waste, the better you perform!

Sometimes running away is the best option.

If there is danger, animals run away. The natural world does not suffer from any sense of bravura, if a situation is dangerous, get away. Consider business risks very carefully and try to keep “get out now” as one of your options.

When the going is good, make hay

Animals, particularly the carnivores, fill up when they have plenty of food. This way they can survive the tough times and prosper. When your business is doing well, take a moment to lift your head up and plan for the lean times.

Learn from your mistakes

Hopefully your learning curve in business is less steep that the one wild animals face! Perfection is unattainable for most of us. What really matters is how you recover from mistakes… learn the lesson, don’t be too harsh on yourself or others (see the comment on life and death) and move on!

Obtain and maintain balance!

The food-chain in nature is very finely tuned and in very fine balance. Aim to eliminate waste in your own operations and you will find that there is enough food for everyone to eat! You can’t just sit back and relax, when balance is achieved it only lasts a short time unless you take action to maintain it.

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