Civil engineer and business consultant Ivan Scott has taken insight from the animal world to teach lessons in business. In July

Civil engineer and business consultant Ivan Scott has taken insight from the animal world to teach lessons in business. In July

What would the animals do?

A South Surrey author publishes business lessons learned from the scrublands of Africa.

About a decade ago, Ivan Scott was the vice-president of Lafarge Concrete in B.C.

Although the civil engineer and former dam- and bridge-builder was a leader in a profitable worldwide company, there was no shortage of challenges, and he had to be careful to keep the company ahead of its competition.

Scott, now 62 and a business consultant based in South Surrey, recalls having long talks about strategies with his Western Canada boss at the time.

The discussions about prices, competitors and market share sometimes took odd turns.

Quirky questions would pop up: What would lions do at this stage? How about water buffalo?

“We would sit there for hours and talk about it.”

By coincidence, both Scott and his boss were South Africans and they linked the problems in business with the business of survival on the veld – the rolling scrublands of southern Africa.

After years of thought about the subject, Scott has self-published Survive or Die: Business Transformation Lessons Given by the Animal Kingdom.

He describes it as a business textbook, but with the quirk of having the “it’s a jungle out there” phrase taken to a new level.

The lessons about survival strategies come from the viewpoint of a several large mammals, each given a chapter.

As an anthropomorphic narrative, the animal communities are moulded as businesses: Lion Limited, Elephant Enterprises, Cheetah Corporation, Baboon Brokerage.

Each species has their own challenges, whether they’re predator or prey.

“They discuss things among themselves (about) how they can ensure their survival,” Scott explains, adding that in the wild, animals also communicate with each other.

As in the human business ecosystem, they subscribe to SWOT analysis – evaluating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Mistakes are made. Losses occur. Lessons are (sometimes) learned.

Scott says the book features basic, universal business lessons, not the flavour-of-the-month strategies of other business books.

There’s a recurring element of change, with humanity a major factor in the gradual decline of wildlife populations in the last 100 years.

He says that climate change is one factor, but there’s no need for hunting nowadays, either in Africa or Canada.

“We can do our hunting at Safeway,” he says.

About two days after Scott first published his book in late July, the Internet was awash in revulsion to the news of the death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe at the hands of a trophy hunter, Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer.

The last two chapters in Scott’s Survive or Die involve a trophy hunter who arrives in the bush with a trio of trophy targets: A lion, elephant and water buffalo.

The animals are seemingly no match for a man on the hunt.

“Any idiot with a rifle can kill something,” interjects Scott, who doesn’t hide his contempt for the real-life hunter.

But the author says it’s no spoiler to divulge that the hunter in Survive or Die, who hasn’t planned his strategy properly before setting off to hunt, gets what’s coming to him in the end.

He didn’t read the book.

Survive or Die: Business Transformation Lessons Given by the Animal Kingdom by Ivan Scott is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1EiopZk

Just Posted

Dooris Raad was last seen in South Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood on June 7. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Doris Anderson’s digital triptych Aberration, which she is marketing as an NFT.
Semiahmoo Peninsula abstract painter dives into NFT market

Works sold as one-of-a-kind digital files

Scales of Justice, Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Scales of Justice, Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Teacher’s elbow injury case against Surrey School District, WorkSafeBC struck by judge

Judge says processes put in place by legislation, collective agreement must be followed

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Surrey School District building. (File photo)
Naming schools after settler, historical figure ‘can be quite problematic’: Surrey school district

District working closely with Semiahmoo First Nation on naming three schools

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Most Read