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African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus)

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Tigers are the largest of the big cats with male Siberian tigers reaching a length of up to 3.5 metres from nose to tail. 

They live in isolation and hunt alone, meaning that for all of their size and remarkable athletic ability, their success rate when hunting prey is only about 5-10%. 

Lions are truly magnificent animals who have harnessed the power of teamwork, with lionesses doing the majority of their hunting in groups of 3-7. 

Their ambushing techniques and ability to work together enables them to take down large prey and increases their hunting success rate to about 30%.

Then there is the relatively humble African wild dog.  Much smaller at a little over a metre in length, this species hunts in packs of up to 30 dogs, utilising their extraordinary stamina and vocal calls to coordinate their attacks with great effect.  Despite not being as glamourous as the big cats, the African hunting dog has a success rate of 80-90%.

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If you’re a leader or someone who works with others, then understanding how you influence others is important.

From the most timid person to the most charismatic individual, the reality is that we all have some sort of influence on those around us.  The challenge is to find ways to increase our impact in positive ways so that we can augment the effectiveness of those around us, help to create a more constructive environment and make ourselves more indispensable.

Over the years, I’ve identified four categories that describe how we are influencing those around us.

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I was watching an NBA game on TV the other day and after a great dunk by one of the players, I could see his team-mates in the background stand to their feet and cheer him on.

They didn’t dunk the ball, they didn’t pass it to him, some of them may not even get onto the court for that game, but they knew that they still had a role to play.

They had the responsibility to cheer their team-mates on and to encourage them to even greater heights.

Wherever you are and whatever your situation, you have that same responsibility and opportunity.

There will be times in any organisation when someone else is doing great work.

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Two porcupines

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Paulo Coelho tells the story about when the Ice Age came and porcupines had to find a way to survive.

At first they decided to group together to keep warm and protect one another.

Unfortunately, their spiky quills made it uncomfortable to stay in such close proximity, so they dispersed.

Of course, this left them exposed to the elements and they started to freeze to death until they realised that they needed to make a significant choice.

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Brain surgeons are allowed (in my opinion at least) to be scumbags.  They have my permission (for what it’s worth) to act how they want, say what they want, have a terrible attitude, a haughty sense of entitlement and complain about everything and everyone.

Why?

I have two reasons.

Firstly, they are really hard to replace.  It takes a lot of intelligence, discipline, skill and training to become a brain surgeon.  I know that I couldn’t become one, and I’m guessing that you couldn’t either.  I don’t want to limit your potential, but I’m probably right.  Brain surgeons don’t grow on trees, so I’m OK for them to act like scumbags because we don’t get a lot of choice about whether we get the nice brain surgeon or the surly one.

Secondly, brain surgeons save people’s lives.  They do pretty amazing and complex work that significantly benefits our society, so they are allowed to balance this out with a terrible attitude.

We don’t have that option.

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Pile of bricks.

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The following story is one that I first read in John C. Maxwell’s Developing the Leader Within You.

This is what an injured brick layer wrote on his insurance form after he tried to move 500 pounds of bricks from the top of a fourth story building to the ground below:

It would have taken too long to carry the bricks down by hand, so I decided to put them in a barrel and lower them by a pulley which I had fastened to the top of the building.

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NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge (2008)

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I’ve written a few times about the importance of having a network of support around you when you’re trying to navigate through life.  As social beings, to be completely self-reliant is not how we were designed and we are diminished if we don’t have others contributing to and sharing in our success.

However, I haven’t really defined the kinds of people who should be in your support crew, so that’s what I thought I should do today.

I’ve identified at least four different functions that you should think about having in your life to assist you in your journey.

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Connochaetes taurinus, Ngorongoro Crater, Wild...

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One of nature’s great events is the annual wildebeest migration that takes place in Africa.

Millions of the large mammals move from one feeding area to another in massive herds.

The herds work well for the wildebeest as travelling in such large numbers protects them from predators, mainly lions.  If they were by themselves, they would be easy pickings, but there is protection in the herd and they all know it.

Unfortunately, most people think that the benefits of the herd apply to humans as well.

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My wife Karen was reading through a few of my posts earlier today and noticed a couple of typos. 

After wishing that I had done a better job in proof-reading myself before pressing publish, I realised that there are times when we all need someone to help us out with a little bit of editing from time to time.

Very few people like to receive constructive criticism, but it is an important component of personal development, so my question today is, who’s your editor?

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Canada Geese in V formation

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Geese are seemingly innocuous birds, but there have been some interesting and well-documented principles that can be learned from them, especially from their migratory flying patterns.   

This information has been used many times and has been attributed to Dr. Robert McNeish, who first used it in a sermon he delivered in the early 70’s.    

What can we learn from geese?    

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