Alert Circles – Surveying the Environment

Hi, this is Steve Shallenberger with Becoming Your Best.

I’d like to share an experience I had this last weekend while visiting the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I noticed two significant leadership principles as we were taking a safari tour around the property, which is 1800 acres. It is an amazing preserve for these animals. 300 different species and over 3000 different animals, it is spectacular.

We went around one corner, we noticed a group of about 10 to 12 gazelles sitting all facing out from one another. Each facing a different direction so their perspective was 360 degrees. It was quite amazing.

What we found that these are alert circles. An alert circle is, if anyone sees a danger sign, that would affect the whole group, then they put out the signal and then they can take action.

In business and in life this is like what we call “surveying the external environment”.

In other words, always being aware of threats or opportunities. These threats could impact our own personal lives. Our personal success, happiness, health. Also our business or organizations’ life, regulatory, competition, accidents, whatever they might be that would have an impact.

The idea is that an alert circle and our very survival can depend upon it. The sooner that we take action… When we see either a threat to our lives, or our business, or organizations, or an opportunity that should be developed, this is a huge success principle that we regularly do. That’s the first one I saw, wonderful concept, the alert circle.

Now, the second one was the next set of animals not far off and happened to be the Cape buffalo. This is a huge animal, 1000 to 2000 pounds, horns that are sharp and lethal, pretty amazing.

They have a unique characteristic because they live in herds. In this particular case, where they have the young and the old always in the herd, they are particularly susceptible to danger and predators. So if the alert goes out the herd is what responds together and this is what makes them powerful. They don’t leave each other alone to fend for themselves. The Cape buffalo are known actually for going after a lion and killing a lion that has threatened the herd.

This also applies in our life or business. As we create a culture within our teams of high communication, high trust… Making it okay for someone to send out a distress signal that, “Hey, we’re in trouble, we have a challenge here”. It’s when we work together as teams then we can achieve tremendous output and get excellent results.

So these are the two lessons that I wanted to share today that I learned at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

This is Steve Shallenberger with Becoming Your Best.

For all those interested in business and leadership ideas don’t forget to go to the Five Minute Leadership Makeover ( or 5 Minute Leadership Makeover). There’s three videos that you can watch now that can make a difference. That’s the Five Minute Leadership Makeover.

Wishing you a great day!

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