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Lessons for business from wildlife in South Africa

Lessons from nature for humans and organisations – let your team flourish!

Recently our training engagements took us to Malelane, a beautiful town on the border of the Kruger National Park in South Africa – one of our beautiful country’s biggest assets and tourist attractions.  Over the weekend we meandered through the park and marvelled at the wildlife, beautiful vegetation, and landscapes we admired from hides along our way.

In the dynamic landscape of an ever-changing world, nature provides timeless wisdom that can guide organisations toward success. Here are valuable insights drawn from the natural world:

  1. Adaptability: Just as indigenous flora and fauna have adapted to diverse ecosystems; businesses must be agile and responsive. The ability to pivot in the face of change is essential.
  2. Ubuntu: The African philosophy of Ubuntu emphasises interconnectedness and community. Businesses should foster collaboration, recognising that their success is intertwined with the well-being of employees, customers, and society.
  3. Diversity and Inclusion: Like the rich biodiversity of South Africa, diverse teams bring varied perspectives. Embrace inclusivity to drive innovation and resilience.
  4. Resource Efficiency: Nature wastes nothing. Businesses can learn from this by optimising processes, minimising waste, and conserving resources.
  5. Long-Term Vision: Baobab trees take centuries to mature. Similarly, businesses should focus on sustainable growth rather than short-term gains.
  6. Resilience: The African elephant, despite challenges, persists. Businesses should build resilience to weather economic storms and disruptions.
  7. Balance: The rhythm of the savannah teaches balance. Businesses should harmonise work, ethics, and social responsibility.
  8. Respect: Wild animals are wild – lions are not kittens nor wild dog’s cute puppies, so stay in the vehicle.  Respect nature’s boundaries and inherent nature.  As humans and organisations, we need to respect diversity, differences of opinion and allow enough territory for all.

There is enough sunshine for all of us – let’s adopt business practices and individual behaviours that will make people flourish and grow.

Does your organisation embrace future-friendly sustainable practices?

  • Allow hybrid working practices where possible.  Your carbon footprint can be greatly reduced by allowing staff to alternate in-office days with working remotely.  We know this is not possible for all jobs – it’s a given.  Allow staff who can work remotely to do so and save precious time, fossil fuel consumption.  You will most likely see an increase morale too.  Animals have shown us how to move around and still maintain their identity.
  • Space– many open-plan offices are not conducive to productivity as it doesn’t allow staff enough space to focus, breathe and have some privacy.  Elbows touching in an office is not good for morale. Respect territory!
  • Voice– make every staff member feel that his/her voice is heard and valued.  Great innovations and ideas come from your own staff – just be prepared to listen!
  • Feed themwith knowledge, skills, growth and some good coffee from time to time.  Provide a space for people to eat and meet. Food and fests bring people together like sunset inviting animals to watering holes in the Game Park.
  • Give away your authority– managers are often overwhelmed and tend to micromanage.  Train your staff well and allow them to make decisions that are good for the business and individuals’ careers.  Organisations who don’t allow responsible decision making at all levels, paralyse the flow of work which causes frustrated customers.

By embracing these lessons from nature, businesses and individuals alike can thrive while contributing positively to their environment and communities.  You are invited to contact us – we have some cool ideas to allow your staff to flourish.

You will find Marjon Meyer and Sean Woolnough at www.skillswork.co.za.

marjon@skillswork.co.za or sean@skillswork.co.za

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