TEAMWORK LESSONS FROM THE LION PRIDE
There is no better way to look at teamwork other than to take a leaf from the high performance teams. Nature provides a wealth of wisdom on its functionality. One great team from the wild happens to be the pride of lions where a single lion never achieves much individually but the moment they combine forces, great results are realized. This book by Noah Mangwarara draws a number of lessons from how lions go about their hunting expeditions in the jungle.
A team can be taken as a group of mutually dependent individuals, customarily with an assortment of roles and functions, whose collective efforts towards a jointly shared goal are required for the successful completion of an assignment. A team is more than just a group with totally independent interests. Instead, it is a group in which the contributions of individuals are seen as complementary. Lions display this concept of complementarity in amazing fashion as each member is a well-tested and competent individual who brings value to the table, such value which adds to the good of the whole. No lion bigger than the pride, pointing to the important concept of teamwork that the ‘WE’ is always bigger than the ‘ME’. The author drives the point home that nothing much is achieved by a time when the different team members are pulling in different directions. It doesn’t matter how good a team player is, the results of individual play always stand out to be mediocre at best and catastrophic on the other end.
Lions display extraordinary ways of interaction that make it possible for them to achieve the assignment at hand. The king of the jungle is an exception to the customary lonesome existence of most cat species like leopards and cheetahs. In as much as the cheetah can dash at a blistering speed of 120km per hour, their success rate in a hunting expedition is only 10 percent, making a failure rate of 90 percent. Lions on the other hand, many not be as speedy but they have developed a collective system based on teamwork, division of labour and an extended but closed family unit. The conventional pride consists of about 15 individuals; 5 to 10 females, their young, and 2 or 3 territorial males. Territorial males are typically brothers or pride companions who have formed a partnership to safeguard their females. The pride becomes a formidable force in the jungle, not because of the individual talent and stamina but as a result of pulling together towards a common end. There is no better way to learn teamwork other than from the best.
From a lion pride setting, a team is more than just an assemblage of individuals with similar interests. It is a cluster in which the contributions of individuals are seen as complementary and adding value to all. Big picture thinking drives all great teams. As long as there is one common agenda and everyone focuses on such, there is no impediment that can stand on the path of such a team. Every member of the lion pride has something of value to contribute to the needs of the team. In every team set-up, it is fundamental for all the members thereto to endeavour doing those things that are worthwhile for the overall accomplishment of the assignment at hand. In the words of Jin Kwon, “One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but team work dynamites.”
The accomplishment that results from a team is enormous hence the need for people to come to terms with team principles that support in bringing out the best that can be gotten given the circumstances.
In this book, the author drives the points home that if the best is to be gotten from any team, the potential from everyone should be given the opportunity to shine. This comes about after undergoing a thorough selection process. Within the pride of lions, there are no loafers, each member must earn their position in the pride. Training is intense through and through, pointing to the need to continuously develop capacities of each team member, whether they occupy a leadership position or otherwise. Teamwork enhances personal growth and keeps everyone motivated, with heightened focus.
The book is incomplete without mention of high levels of communication amongst the lions. Any movement by a member of the team immediately draws attention from others. There is no team that achieves much without a commitment to gather and convey information to others. Great teams achieve massively because of their ability to communicate at all levels. Communication is the glue that cements and binds everyone together.
Commitment, trust, respect and few bosses brings about the effectiveness in the pride. By the same token, any other team anyway stands to produce great results as a result of treating others with utmost respect.
The different abilities in the lion pride are maximized and combined to come up with a perfect kill. This brings to our attention the fact that there is power in strong networking, with each member contributing in an exceptional way towards the accomplishment of a common objective. As long as anyone feels that they can do everything on their own, they stand to receive the shock of their lives upon realizing that there are a lot of things they are ignorant of. When it was asserted that no man is an island, there was hundred percent truth in that line of thinking. If ever you are to make an impact as an individual, it is important to connect strategically with others. Great personalities who have been massively endowed with talent could not achieve much because of the failure to realise the immense power that lies in working alongside others.