... is a quick tip ezine for Managers who believe in "Results Derived from Within"
Vickie Bevenour, a Professional Certified Coach, PCC
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July / August 2009
Honestly Trusting Your Natural Instincts?
Recently I went on the trip of a lifetime � a safari in Tanzania. There were so many new sights to absorb: the vastness of the Serengeti, the culture of the Masai and the magnificence of the animals in the wild.
One of the things that struck me, in this place of extremes, is the underlying order that Mother Nature has provided. The �name of the game� is Eat�and Don�t Get Eaten! for the animals of the Serengeti. Each animal has a particular strength and uses that strength to survive � which means finding food and avoiding BEING food for someone else. For example:
- The cheetah must rely on its speed
- The vultures must rely on exceptional eyesight
- The hyenas have a heightened sense of smell
- The lions also have a heightened sense of smell and excellent eyesight, but are not as fast as the cheetahs.
- The rhinoceros have deadly horns and a tough skin
Each of the animals of the Serengeti use their strengths to survive, which in the wild means defending themselves and finding food. What is amazing to me is the manner in which they have adapted to their environment by using their strengths.
For example, when the cheetah kills, he must eat immediately and quickly before another animal challenges him for food. The cheetah has only its speed to ensure its diet and its ability to get away from dangerous situations. If the cheetah were to be injured, he would be unable to hunt and unable to defend itself in precarious situation.
Another example is the fact that zebras have weak backbones (which is why they have never been tamed and used in the same manner as horses). When zebras rest they stand head to tail and rest their heads on the other�s rump. Resting their head and neck takes the pressure off of the backbone. Their tails are constantly swishing to get the flies off their neighbor�s face. Like horses, zebras sleep standing up and only sleep when neighbors are around to
warn them of predators.
We were lucky enough to have been in the Great Migration when herds of hundreds of thousands of animals migrate across the endless miles of the Serengeti. There is a very specific order in which this migration occurs. By instinct, the animals know the order of things; Mother Nature tells them when it is their turn to follow. The zebras are the first, followed by the wildebeasts and then the giraffes and the impalas. This order is appropriate because of the
food that each of these animals eat. Imagine if the elephants migrated at the wrong time, the sheer weight of the elephants would trample the food needed by others, and those that eat the tops of grasses, as opposed to the roots, would be left to starve.
As I sat in our safari vehicle marveling at the sights unfolding before me, I began to count the lessons that business professionals could learn from watching these animal in the bush:
- If you have a weakness as a group (like the zebras back bone) can you pull on the other strengths of the group, not only to survive, but to thrive?
- Within large organizations, if we could see our own �migration process� and put aside our egos to determine �who should go first � and who should do what�when,� how much more successful could we be?
- As a manager, when you recognize that you have a member of your team whose natural instinct is to operate in a completely different manner (like the cheetah must eat quickly, while the lion can take its time) might it make sense to encourage that behavior rather that assume everyone does things the same way?
Imagine the possibilities! They are as vast as the Serengeti itself. Take just one small lesson from the animals in the wild; what is your one over-riding strength? Can you use that to your advantage or the advantage of your organization? If your organization has a known weakness, can you overcome that weakness by finding strengths in other places? Are you driving processes to be as effective as possible? Are you asking everyone in your organization to
operate in a similar fashion or allowing differences? Whenever a challenge arises, thinking back to the rhythm of nature might help you find the answer.
Trust your natural instincts; your honest intuition does not lie. Congratulations, you have taken the next step to deriving results from within.
*To review any of these past newsletters, please visit the Newsletter section of www.CoachVickie.com
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