Institute of Management, Nirma University - Logo
Institute of Management, Nirma University - Logo

Embracing the Wild: Lessons from Elephants and Cheetahs in Business Operations

In the vast and dynamic landscape of business operations, nature often provides us with analogies that offer valuable insights. Drawing inspiration from the animal kingdom, we can explore the contrasting yet complementary qualities of elephants and cheetahs in the context of production and operations. Just like these majestic creatures navigate their ecosystems, companies can learn from the unique strengths of each to optimize their operational strategies.

Lessons from Elephants:

  • Elephants symbolize strength and stability. In the corporate jungle, this translates to large, well-established companies with robust processes that endure the test of time. The structure and pace of the elephants symbolizes the production processes producing products in large volumes and having less variations.
  • Same like elephants’ social behaviour, teamwork is important, in operations large teams working together harmoniously to achieve operational excellence is important.
  • Elephants are known for their long lifespan and strategic migration. In operations, this aligns with long-term planning and strategic thinking, focusing on sustainable growth and adaptability over time.
  • As elephants carefully manage their resources, operational efficiency thrives on meticulous resource management. Minimizing waste and optimizing resource utilization become key strategies.

Lessons from Cheetahs:

  • Cheetahs epitomize speed and agility. In the business world, industries requiring rapid responses and agile production processes find inspiration in the cheetah’s lightning-fast approach. The production processes producing products in small volumes and having many variations.
  • Cheetahs adapt their hunting strategies to different situations. Similarly, businesses must embrace innovation and adaptability in operations, staying ahead of the curve with new technologies and methodologies.
  • Cheetahs are precise and efficient hunters. In operations, lean and efficient processes take centre stage, emphasizing precision, minimizing waste, and maximizing output.
  • Cheetahs take calculated risks in hunting. Similarly, operational strategies involving calculated risk-taking and strategic decision-making allow businesses to seize opportunities while managing potential challenges.

As we navigate the corporate wilderness, the key in finding harmony in the business ecosystemlies in finding the right balance between the characteristics represented by elephants and cheetahs. Whether you are building a stable, enduring structure or aiming for agile, lightning-fast operations, understanding the nuances of each approach is essential.

In conclusion, the wild offers a rich tapestry of lessons for business operations. By embracing the wisdom of elephants and the agility of cheetahs, companies can thrive in a world that demands both stability and adaptability. Just as nature finds its balance, so too can businesses flourish by drawing inspiration from the diverse traits of the animal kingdom.

Author Prof. Sumeetha Sharma