Business Lessons from the Bush: Wisdom from the Big Cats

We all love the bush because most human beings resonate with nature. The bush can also teach us a great deal about the way we manage our business.

Our speaker at the Cape Town Vistage meeting in September was Lorne Sulcas
who discussed the lessons we can learn in life and business from the Big Cats, Leopard, Cheetah and Lion in his keynote talk Thriving in a Wild World.

I think it is worth our while to briefly repeat it here:



THE LEOPARD is nocturnal, very muscular and strong, and a planned patient hunter.
They plan their strategy very carefully, very focused and committed to their pre-determined prey or goal. They are not distracted by bigger and more risky targets. They manage a good balance of Risk and Reward plus satisfactory outcome without overstretching beyond their abilities. The lessons for business include :-
– Pre – planning of appropriate goals
– Clear focus
– Patient and committed actions
– No distractions from the agreed goal



THE CHEETAH is diurnal, incredibly fast but not muscular and has limited stamina.
Accordingly it is very selective in target orientation and conserves energy to ensure optimum performance. Also excellent at teaching their cubs the skills required for survival. They experience very strong competitive as well as predatory activities most particularly regarding their cubs. The lessons for business include :-
– Clear goal orientation
– Use resources wisely
– Conserve energy for peak performance
– Be aware of the competition and also predatory opposition.
– Ensure adequate training and development




THE LION is large, very strong and totally team oriented.
The pride is a committed caring and affectionate team. They hunt large targets as a team with clear role clarity and confidence in each other’s performance. All members contribute to the agreed goal and share in the outcome. And they do not tolerate weak or poor performers. In one way or another the weak are culled to ensure a strong team of complimentary skills. The business lessons include :-
– Team orientation with absolute role clarity
– Agree and implement large goals as a team
– Performance measurement
– Trust and confidence in the team and the individual
– Eliminate weak team members

To my mind there is certainly much to be learned from these fabulous animals and it is basically a strong reinforcement of the business attributes necessary for success which we understand but often ignore or avoid.

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