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Lesson 2: The territory is strategic to a pride's success

When a male lion announces his presence with a deep roar that reverberates through the bush, everything within a 6-8 kilometer radius pauses to take note. Hearing it at night is one of Africa’s most unforgettable experiences.

His message is: “this territory is mine, and what is in it belongs to me” Male lions are highly territorial and will actively defend and protect their pride and domain, often in spectacular battles from rival coalitions.
For lions the territory is strategic to their survival and sustainability. Defending a large territory incurs greater energy, time and risk of injury. Larger prides are able to expand the size and quality of their territories and thereby gain greater reproductive success. It is this territory that holds the key to their success and it provides the resources for them to survive. Prey, water, partners, potential mates, and offspring make it necessary for lions to defend and protect against possible intruders, other carnivores and hostile threats. Lions use scent marking, also known as territorial marking or spraying  to mark their territory.

A pride’s territory can cover up to 200 square kilometers. Normally lions favor open woodlands and thick scrub, the type of landscape that allows them to get as close to their prey as possible without being seen. Lions demonstrate amazing adaptability. This is evident in the presence of lions in the unique landscapes of the northern Namib Desert.  These desert-adapted lions in the Kunene region are exceptional hunters and have the largest home ranges ever recorded for the species. The above ranges cover areas greater than 3000 square kilometers.

For lions their success as a pride depends on their ability to adapt to the changes and challenges within their territory. They need to develop the skills that are required to survive in their territory and ultimately protect their territory with their lives. It is all about the territory!

So what does your territory look like?
Individuals and organisations should also carefully monitor the external environment/territory that they find themselves in.  It is vital to detect early signs of opportunities and threats that may influence current and future plans.
Scanning your environment or territory, in a strategic sense, is about gaining a better understanding of your work, your organisation, your competitive environment and your industry. It is about recognising that the future is unlikely to be anything like the past, and that we therefore need to spend some time understanding the trends and likely influencers on our future and that of our organisations.
Knowing your territory allows you to be ready to respond to the challenges of your environment, and to adjust accordingly. What you are trying to avoid is the ‘head in the sand’ syndrome where you believe that you don’t need to keep an eye on what might be coming because the future will be just like today.
Take some time to think about the following:

  • What Events are taking place in your territory that are impacting your survival?
  • What are the movements and trends that are taking place in your territory that potentially shape your territory i.e. technology, behavior of clients /customers
  • your industry (education) and its operating environment,
  • your services, and how they might evolve,
  • your clients, and how their expectations might change,
  • issues that are likely to affect your workforce and your staff,
  • emerging and converging technologies, and
  • emerging shifts in what we think is ‘business as usual’.
 Start to think about:  your territory - your survival depends on it.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Neal Cooper (CNP Safaris)

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