Friday, July 13, 2007

Running in Packs

We all learn from a young age that the lion is the king of the jungle, we don’t know why; we just know that they are. Lions are not the strongest, biggest, fastest, or largest pack of animal, but still they rule their land. So, how do lions rule the land?

There are three things that lions do better than any other animal which allows them to rule; 1) teamwork, 2) preparation and 3) goal orientation.

Lions work together tremendously well. While they are well equipped to kill prey on their own, they know that in order to kill prey that will feed the whole pack they must kill something much larger than themselves. In order for this to happen they must assemble a team of lions, each knowing the various roles in the hunt so that they can take down their prey.

Lions start the hunt by preparing themselves to first find the prey they wish to kill. This preparation includes a strategy that allows them to surround their prey and react to what unfolds. This means that each lion is prepared to take over any role at any time. Some lions might kill the prey one time and flush out the prey another time, but the key to their success is that they can play any role when the time is needed. In the lion kingdom there are no specialists.

By acting in the way that they act, the lion is striving for one common goal; survival.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, let’s start out by comparing our environments to theirs. Broken down to its purist form our ultimate goal is survival. Weather we are providing for our family, team, or business, ultimately we are surviving so that we can thrive. The problem we run into as humans is that in doing so we often look out for ourselves only, therefore hurting the rest of the pack.

In a family, when we are the sole provider and do everything for the family we don’t equip the rest of the family with the tools to succeed when we are no longer around. We can lead by example, but when we don’t allow the other family member to experience a variety of roles we fail them because they don’t have the tools to succeed when they are on their own. A team is no different, because when we give specific roles to each person therefore making them a specialist, the team will fail when no one knows how to fill in for someone else when they are gone. Business will follow the same rules, because when we have a group of people who don’t know what the people around them are doing or how they do it, when that piece is missing all other pieces will struggle as well.

Teamwork is a must in any successful venture as well as preparation and role recognition, but what is essential is that each person involved in the survival of the group must be able to play any role at any time. This means that we need to create well rounded family members, teammates, and coworkers in order for the greater group to not only survive, but to thrive as well.

It is our responsibility as leaders to make sure that everyone in the packs we associate with have the competency to lead on their own as well as function as a group. When we fail to do so our herd will dwindle down to a non productive entity at the mercy of those who get it. We are not trainings those around us to kill, but much like the lions we are training each other to survive.

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