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Lion Like Leadership

June 2, 2012 3 comments

A highlight memory in my life was recently watching a pride of lions hunt in Kenya on the Serengeti plains. Here are some leadership points I took away from the experience.

Leaders are hard to find

The pride was carefully concealed in the grass. Although these lions are large creatures, they usually kept their heads beneath the level of the tall grass. You had to look very carefully and get up closer to really notice what was taking place.

Lion Insight: This is true of leaders. You need to get close enough to them to really see their leadership at work.

Identify the target

One of the pride raised her head high above the grass and spotted a single Hartebeest on the horizon more than a kilometer away. Once identified, she never took her eyes off the prey and somehow signaled to the entire pride to do the same.

Lion Insight: Leaders are the ones who can look out to the horizon and determine where the entire group should be headed. They also have a way of communicating this so all eyes are on the goal.

Spread out and gain perspective

With a military like precision, the pride began to spread out across the plain, each one staring intently at the goal. By doing so they were increasing their ability to judge the direction and potential action of the prey. It also positioned them in such a way that no matter what took place, some member of the pride may be in a place to have success. This was a team effort.

Lion Insight: Leaders are always helped by getting more perspective on a situation. Allowing your team to be among your feedback group gives an even greater potential of achieving your goals.

Be patient

The pride began to move toward their goal slowly, quietly with stealth. They were not in a rush, as they knew that would be futile when they have to cover so much territory to get close to achieving their goal.

Lion Insight: Leaders need to have the discipline to patiently work towards their goals. One step at a time will get you there. If you rush, you may loose entirely.

Ignore the distractions

We were in a four-wheel drive right amidst the pride, in fact they walked around us while hunting without even giving an acknowledgement of our presence.

Lion Insight: There are so many things that can capture a leaders attention, but if we are going to reach the goal we must learn to ignore distractions and keep moving forward.

Outside influences can affect the plan

As the pride were moving towards the Hartebeest another Land Cruiser came across the plain towards the lions so that their customers could catch a glimpse of one of the Big Five. In doing so, he attracted the attention of the Hartebeest who then quickly took off in the opposite direction foiling the hunt.

Lion Insight: There will always be the outside influences that can impact your plans. Leaders need to realize this and get over it quickly.

Be quick to regroup

As soon as the pride realized their dinner was now far from a reality they quickly moved back together and began the task of identifying a new target

Lion Insight: Leaders should be quick to call the team together again when there is a need to regroup and set a new goal.

We have an example

There is another lion from whom we can glean leadership principles. Revelation 5:5 refers the Lion of Judah, one of the names ascribed to Jesus.

Lion Insight: Following the Lion of Judah can be a guide for life providing leadership insight and life in all its fullness.

PS – I might add one more to this list and that is that it was the women doing all the work!

Tweeter and the Monkey Man

May 23, 2012 2 comments

Elvis – The Hotel Monkey Man

Bob Dylan

All day long I have been hearing Bob Dylan’s voice from the Travelling Wilburys singing, “. .

“To an undercover cop who had a sister named jan
For reasons unexplained she loved the monkey man”

Now let me try to explain.

Breakfast with Elvis

Bob and I were having breakfast at the Protea Hotel right at the entrance gate to Kruger national park. The gate itself reminds me of Jurrasic Park – because once you pass through it, you are the minority. We are in animal territory and Bob and Carson seem more like “Kibbles and Bits” once you enter the park.

Back to breakfast. So from where I am sitting I am watching one of the staff at the hotel positioned on the outside deck standing very alert yet sublte. The entire breakfast time he did not move but was holding something in his hands.

Curiosity has taught me a lot and occasionally gotten me into trouble. So I approached him and found out his name was Elvis. I also saw that what was in his hand was a homemade sling shot with 18 inches bands of red surgical tubing coming back to the leather patch for holding the round stones he had in a pouch.

“What are you doing?” I asked politely.

Elvis replied, “Watching for monkeys.” He then showed me how he fits the stones into the sling shot.

“So you are the Monkey Man here at the hotel?”

“Yes, yes . . the Monkey Man” he laughed with his beautiful white teeth showing from ear to ear. “The Monkey Man”  he repeated with laughter.

“I haven’t seen any monkey’s this morning.”

“No,” Elvis said seriously, “it is because I am here. No monkeys today,”

Now Bob and I have seen these masked robbers on the property, but I still got the giggles as I thought about a hotel that has a monkey man on staff.

The leadership developer in me then started imagining the interview process for the job. I was now laughing out loud at just the prospect. Bob kept asking, “What are you laughing about?”

“The monkey man interview process.”

I was barely able to get that out without crying I was laughing so hard. My friend smiled with me, and my bizarre, warped sense of humour.

The Interview

Inside my head I picture the manager of the hotel coming out of his office with papers in his hand calling out, “Elvis?”

Elvis stands and walks towards the manager with his slingshot in his hand. Shakes hands with the manager and then enters his office.

Elvis has no papers with him and is dressed in a very casual manner as the manager asks him to sit down.

“So Mr. Elvis, you are here to apply for the Monkey Man position?”

“Yes sir,” he says shyly.

“Let me ask you a few questions, Do you like monkeys?”

“No sir.”

“Do you like eating Monkey glands?”

“Yes sir.”

“What do you think is the most effective way for our hotel to get rid of monkeys?”

“Sir I would go into the park and follow some lions and collect big bags of lion manure and spread it around the hotel.”

“Wouldn’t that smell and bother our guests?”

“Yes but it would get rid of the monkeys.”

“Would you be opposed to using a..” the manager gets up and closes the office door and looks into Elvis’ eyes, “. . a more lethal method?”

Elvis smiled, and holds up his slingshot.

“You any good with that?”

Elvis stares at him and with pride and repeats, “I never miss.”

“Even in a crowded dining room with dozens of guest in it?”

“I never miss” Elvis said more seriously.

The manager then stands up and walks towards Elvis, extends his hand saying, “You’re hired. You are hotel’s monkey man. Can you start tomorrow?”

Well I am going to sleep tonight still smiling about the Monkey Man. Hope to say goodbye to Elvis before we leave tomorrow.

What questions would you ask if you were interviewing someone for the monkey man position?

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