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Have you noticed how animals that live in herds, prides and packs can seamlessly work together to secure their future and achieve synergy in task accomplishment? In contrast, why do so many business books and articles describe dysfunctional groups or teams?   It is from nature where we recognise the value of leadership, understand the importance of “playing to your strengths” and admire the ability to focus despite massive distractions. It is in nature where effective communication becomes a matter of life and death, where trust is non-negotiable and the spectacle of survival plays out and reminds us how precious life is. We, the most sophisticated of all species often stand in awe of nature. Lions specifically teach us wonderful lessons…lessons about life in the pride.
In this series Niel will highlight what he captured over a number of years studying lion behaviour. He will share valuable teachings that we can apply in our business and personal lives.


Lesson 1: It is all about relationships

Why do lions live in prides? Lions are spectacularly sociable creatures. They hunt together, make an effort to rear and raise their cubs in a communal effort and will savagely defend joint territories. Lions are definitely the most sociable of all the cats. I have always admired lions hunting, the intensity of their efforts, their discipline, patience and ability to remain focused, but it is the interaction amongst different individuals in the pride that captured my attention over the years. It is these relationships within the pride that fascinated me most.

Lions are social killers, they rely on each other as a team but are highly aggressive. So relationships must be mended instantly by affectionate rituals, grooming and body contact. These ties and relationships are distinctive throughout the lives of both males and females. It is fascinating that these relationships are often strategic but they are authentic connections and alliances. They promote protection for individuals, enhances synergy and secure the future of the pride.  Lions instinctively know that “community” is vital for sustainability of their species.
One can truly say,  “The power of the pride is in the lioness and the power of the lioness is in the pride”.
This brings me to our first topic of lessons learned “It is all about relationships”.
Just like lions, people are also more successful in life (and work) when they are connected to, and in constant interaction with, a trusted collection of colleagues, mentors, and partners.  These groups come in all forms and sizes and can be found at every level and in nearly all spheres of both our professional and personal lives.

Keith Ferrazzi, the author of “Never eat alone” explains the importance of our dealings with others by saying “Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can do it alone.”

Ferrazzi says that the secret to networking and building alliances is “people must understand that real networking is about finding ways to make other people more successful”.

Do you display a willingness to show up and creatively share your deepest insights and ideas with those around you? Do you demonstrate a willingness to help others succeed by whatever means you can muster. Success in any field, but especially in business is about working with people, not against them. The advice… become the center of a circle of relationships both personally and professionally.
The premise to this lesson from lions is… Sharing your knowledge and resources, time and energy, friends and associates, in a continual effort to provide value to others, allows you to coincidentally increase your own. Like business itself, networking and building alliances is not about managing transactions between people, but of managing relationships...
What would happen in your business and personal life if we all worked towards a common goal, like a pride of lion working together for survival?
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