There is a story told about a professional hunter who had a friend who always wanted to go with him on one of his hunts. So one day he said to his friend, “I have a permit to go into the Zambezi Valley and hunt for a buffalo. Would you like to come with me?”
The friend was ecstatic at the opportunity.
“When do we go?” he asked.
“In about six months time, but before then I have to train you about hunting.”
For the next six months, the two men met every day, and they discussed and planned for the trip. The hunter’s friend was surprised by how meticulous the hunter was about everything.
He taught him about the bush, and how to survive in it. He taught him everything about buffaloes.
“You must respect the buffalo,” he said, “because it’s a very intelligent animal, and it is also extremely dangerous.”
He gave him lots of books to read, about hunting and buffaloes.
During that time, the friend also trained every day at the shooting range. He understood by then the different types of guns used to hunt buffalo. He also had to do fitness training, which surprised him.
“You can die out there if you are not fit,” his friend explained.
He was totally astounded by what he was learning about hunting.
“Until now, I thought all you do is just go out and shoot, but now I know there’s more to this than meets the eye!” he exclaimed.
When the day came, the two men set out into the wild bush of the Zambezi Valley, one of the most beautiful places on the earth. It is also inhospitably hot, and the terrain is tough.
They’d been tracking one single animal for 5 days, and the hunter’s friend was totally exhausted. He watched as his friend patiently made meticulous plans every single day. The hunter seamed to take forever, from the point of view of his friend. Sometimes they would walk, and sometimes they would sit for hours. The hunter was always looking around, scanning the bushes, not even (it appeared) always paying attention to the surrounding areas more than the buffalo.
“Why can’t he just shoot and we go home!?”
He was getting tired of this, as they walked almost 50 miles a day. He was also hungry most of the time, as they only ate rations of dried meat and fruit, most of the time. The hunter looked at the animal through his gun sight over and over every day, but wouldn’t take a shot. Sometimes they appeared so close, but he still did not do anything.
It was the fifth day: The animal was in sight again, but the hunter was going through his routine again. The friend sat in the bushes, when suddenly a rabbit appeared in front of him and he thought to himself, “At least if I shoot this rabbit, we can have meat tonight. I’m tired of dry rations.” So he pulled out his gun and fired once. The rabbit disappeared, as he had missed anyway, but so did the buffalo, and with it, the entire herd.
The hunter looked at him in total horror and disbelief!
Then he shouted, “Run, or you die!” as he took off.
They almost got stampeded by an entire herd that seemed to appear from nowhere. Also, suddenly there were lions everywhere that he had not seen before! But for the skills of the hunter, who led them both to safety, they could have died.
The buffalo was gone. The hunt was over.
They had to return home, empty-handed.
There are at least 5 business lessons I want you to extract from this story.
Your turn: List 5x simple (one line) responses, if you are interested. No essays.
[By the way, I don’t approve of hunting. So remember, this is a business story. Don’t write me stories about animals!]
Written by Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman of Econet Group.