I am an Account Manager/Recruiter for a boutique headhunting agency specializing in web applications. When I first interviewed with my firm in September 2005, the PEO sat me down and told me the following African proverb:
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
Moral: It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running.
As the PEO concluded, he said, “Now that moral is feel-good bullshit. We don’t hand out participant ribbons in our world. Tell me which animal is faster.”
I sat and thought for about 20 seconds.
“The Lion,” I responded.
“Why?” the PEO asked.
“The Lion runs faster to be King, and the Lion runs faster because he is King” I answered.
I was hired the next day.
1. What happens if the lion rests on its laurels once it is “fastest”? How does this correlate with the business world?
2. Where is competitive advantage gained? Just as workout programs and diets must be tailored individually, how must you tailor the fitness plan for your business to maximize results? For yourself?
3. If the fastest lion chases, kills, and eats more gazelles than he needs to sustain life, will this benefit or hurt his future performance? Do businesses become bloated and sluggish in the same way? What is the optimal “feeding” level for your business?
4. In the business world, is it harder for a gazelle to become a lion, or for a lion to revert to being a gazelle?
“Whenever you are not working to improve, your competition is.” This does not mean “work” related activities only. Every action–diet, fitness, reading material, personal relationships, rest/recovery time, etc. should be calculated to create a progressive, well-rounded warrior. Stay hungry.