Book Review: Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Conquering any Business Challenge

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Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Conquering any Business Challenge.  It was given to me by a friend who said, “You have to read this.  It’s pretty great.”

I was looking forward to reading it because I had already taken the leadership style inventory that goes with the book and found out that I was a “Wildebeest”.

That didn’t seem very inspiring.

You can read that last comment as “I was a bit skeptical”.  I have read many books on leadership.  I could list them for you but, my fingers would stop working. Swanepoel, has however, brought a unique twist to the game.  He identifies seven key skills that a person needs to succeed in the Serengeti of leadership.

I am a pastor and so I read Swanepoel’s parable of the Serengeti through a bit of a different lens. I am not very interested in making a lot of money.  What I am interested in is making an impact.

A big impact.

As I read I tried to imagine the Serengeti of church leadership and how the skills of the strategic lion, the enterprising crocodile, the enduring wildebeest (me!), the risk-taking mongoose, the communicating elephant, the efficient cheetah, and the graceful giraffe, would play out in our community.

The reality is that all of them, as Swanepoel states, are necessary.  The skills that he highlights are at the principle level and cross the chasms business, education, non-profit, and wherever else leadership is needed.

I deeply appreciated the fact that in the Serengeti you could not go it alone.  Each of the skills worked together for the survival of the whole.  This is true in the church context as well. We must have teams who lead together. These teams must recognize the giftedness of the players and embrace one another’s special role.

I recommend you take a peak and think about what it would take to survive your Serengeti.

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THE ENDURING WILDEBEEST

Like the wildebeest, endurance for us in its simplest form is the ability to exert ourselves for relatively long periods of time. More specifically, it’s all about the ability to withstand hardship and stress. We need to remain steadfast and persistent in the face of obstacles. It‘s often not the fastest nor the strongest one that wins the race, it’s the one that stays the course and goes the distance.

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