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

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP recover $80,000 worth of stolen property

Police found the property after executing two search warrants in Newton

White Rock approves scaled-up Festival of Lights for 2020

Event to run for nearly 60 days, and expand from the white rock to Oxford Street

White Rock to encourage Uber, Lyft to operate in city

South Surrey and White Rock are without ride-hailing services, for now

Annual Battle of the Badges hockey game to combat bullying in Delta schools

This year’s Battle of the Badges takes place at Sungod Arena on Pink Shirt Day (Wednesday, Feb. 26)

Trains through White Rock, Surrey could be affected by rail blockades

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

VIDEO: Giants win 10th straight on home ice in Langley

Family Day was about spending time with the fans and dazzling them with a 3-2 victory over Seattle

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Most Read