Jack Lawless on Success Lessons from Africa

You might be wondering what lessons from the plains of Africa could possibly be relevant to you and your organization! Well, I believe in making every experience a learning experience. If you pay attention, business, leadership and success lessons can be learned in the most unlikely places. You might just be surprised by what can be applicable to you and your organization.


My good friend Jack Lawless, Division President of Morrison Healthcare, shares this belief – that any experience can and should be an opportunity for learning. Jack recently shared with me some insights he gained on a recent trip to Africa:


“There were many leadership and success lessons to be learned in Africa. The one that struck me was the need to adapt in order to survive and hopefully thrive. The food and water in Africa are very uncertain. Normal migration was interrupted during our visit due to drought. New migration patterns were established. Animals follow the water and the food supply. But not all animals changed their behavior; limited food and water caused starvation and devastation for the animals that continued to hunt these meager grounds.


Similarly, many businesses are seeing traditional revenue streams drying up. The best businesses, the best hunters, are adapting and not just chasing after the same old “streams” that have dried up. Instead, they are pursuing different ways to earn revenue. One example that comes to mind in healthcare is nutrition and wellness. Also, some very innovative health systems are focusing on reducing re-admission rates and are lowering self-insured healthcare costs for their own employee population through innovative approaches both within the hospital walls and intervening post-discharge. These wise “hunters” are adapting and going after the big wins associated with untraditional opportunities.


The organizations that are “staying close to home,” focusing on traditional revenue and cost cutting only – not looking for new ways to adapt, survive, and thrive in the future, these organizations are fighting for the meager remains and risk ultimate starvation – just like in Africa!”


Excellent insights from a good friend and highly successful leader! Is your organization quickly and effectively adapting and seeking out “new streams,” or are you still chasing after old streams that are quickly drying up? Don’t become another system’s “meal” down the road – be a wise hunter; adapt to survive and thrive!


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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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