Friday, November 06, 2015

The Wildebeest

Leadership lesson #7 from Masai Mara

Masai Mara is famous for the crossing where over 1.5M wildebeest cross over from Tanzania to Kenya and vice versa. Our trip was close to the end of ‘crossing  season’. Keen to see the action up close, we went to the river Mara where the crossing occurs. And there it was, a group of wildebeests on the other side of river deciding on what to do - ‘cross or not to cross’. Upstream nearly a kilometre ahead, a crocodile was basking on the rock while a couple of them were gently floating on the water, just their tops visible on the surface, the nemesis for these crossing animals.

The wildebeests are still trying to decide, one of them pushes the other into the river and that guy does not go any further, in fact he turns back. Then they stand still for a few minutes and then another one goes further into the water and then turns back. Suddenly they run along the river, some in the water and some on the shore, coming to a dead stop. after some time. They do nothing but stand still possibly for one of them to decide. None of them take the next step. One of them at the end on the land is I guess fed up. He decides that he has had enough of this indecision and decides to go back into the land and not cross the water. He climbs the mud embankment into the high land and as he climbs, a few follow suit. One by one the remaining ones follow. The decision has been made, they are not going to cross. The animals that were standstill a moment ago due to indecision are rapidly moving away following the first one to the high land.

Leadership lesson: We all suffer from indecision and do possess herd mentality. A good leader takes decision and confidently goes ahead and the team follows. Not all decisions may indeed be right, but taking a decision is indeed superior to not doing anything.

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