Magazine article Management Today

Brainfood: Why Business Is Like. Cheetahs vs Hyenas

Magazine article Management Today

Brainfood: Why Business Is Like. Cheetahs vs Hyenas

Article excerpt

When a cheetah makes a kill, it conducts a brief recce to check whether it's safe to settle down and eat its prey. If it spots a hyena, it has to make a quick decision: stick, or twist?

In times of plenty, it will abandon its bounty to the hyena. Exhausted from its 60 mph chase, it cannot embark on another contest - even a minor one. Besides, it knows that in a short while it will recover its strength ready to hunt another meal down. But in times of famine, the strategy changes: the cat will take on the hyena. It has nothing to lose - if it doesn't fight, it will starve anyway, and nine times out of 10 it will win.

Darwinism offers a ready metaphor for business. 'Survival of the fittest' is the contract cleaner to UK Plc, sweeping out the weak and nurturing the strong. The cheetah story tells us that stressed and hungry beasts, corporate or corporeal, are more ready to take a chance than fat, sated ones. …

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