Hunter or Hunted?

Hunter_hunted

“According to Major General Hoyt S. Vandenberg Jr., USAF, retired, all leaders fall into two groups: the hunters and the hunted. Hunted leaders are trying to avoid failure; in their hearts they lack self-confidence and don’t expect to succeed. Hunter leaders expect to win. They are enthusiastically hunting success—and they fully expect to find it.”

Heroic Leadership: Leading with Integrity and Honor
by William A. Cohen

We have all heard this comment about a sporting team that just lost the game: “They played to NOT LOSE instead of playing to win.” This strategy fails so often that it is astounding that anybody believes it to be good strategy.

This is fear-based thinking. This is ‘hunted’ thinking.

‘Hunted’ leaders are scared to make mistakes, scared to fail or to risk failure. This way of thinking, especially for a leader, is immobilising to the leader and infectious to the team. If this thinking infects the sales team – and it does – the business will not succeed. A salesperson afraid to risk failure will not last.

This thinking probably had its origins during our school years. At school, the emphasis is on being right. To be wrong is to fail.

Memory over learning

Schooling is less about learning and more about memorising. Tests are really memory tests, not learning tests. There is no emphasis given to making mistakes and learning from them.

This is what you have to do in order to succeed in business: make mistakes and learn from them.

It begins by being WILLING to make mistakes. Hunted leaders will not do this.

In business, playing to not lose leads to stagnation. Stagnation leads to mediocrity and to being overtaken by competitors.

Hunted leaders, those afraid to make mistakes, should ask themselves, “If I try this, what is the WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN?” The answer is usually “not much.”

Have a go!

Work on your business. Try different things. Try different marketing, different ways of doing things, and dare I say, different people if the ones you have are not producing results.

Sure you will make mistakes. If you muck up, fix up, and then have another go. Over time you will discover a formula that will take your business to new profit heights. You will be the hunter, not the hunted.

I find it helpful to look on my business as a hobby. Hobbies are not work: they are a pleasure. We happily work at hobbies. We tinker, we experiment, we research, we ask advice. Above all, we try to be proficient at our chosen hobby. Half the fun is learning to be proficient. Ask any golfer if they have ever achieved perfection. If it’s all about perfection, then, why do they still play? 

As long as you are making some profit, you can afford to play with your business, work at improving it, and risk making the odd mistake on the way to greater profits.

If you are losing money, the first thing to do is to stop the profit leaks so that you are at least breaking even. Once the loss has been stopped, work at implementing proven programs. Develop the business so that it makes healthy profits. Risk failure. Tinker. Have a go.

Be a hunter leader, not the hunted.

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