Leadership And The “Wolf Philosophy”

By Rick Johnson, Ph.D.www.ceostrategist.com

After studying the wolf and deciding to use the wolf as our company [CEO Strategist] logo I believe the wolf and the pack demonstrates a distinctive relationship to successful leadership in the world of business. The wolf pack has many enviable leadership traits.

The wolf [pack] is a social species. Just as management hierarchies vary in size, wolf packs vary in size but average six to seven members. Does that sound like an executive team?

Let’s look at the leadership traits of the wolf pack and what can be learned from them.

Wolves understand that survival depends on a successful hunt, as well as ratio of “pack to prey.” As a result, wolves do not practice panic response management. Wolves develop a plan, working together to ensure that they capture and kill their prey. They are patient and understand that success is not guaranteed and that a success rate of 100% is never realistic. Every wolf within a pack has a role and they are expected to live up to [and be held accountable for] their responsibility within the pack.

There is evidence that wolves have knowledge [strategy] of proper prey management. Wolves are patient of themselves and of one another. They’re focused on their objectives. They respect each other’s role and depend that each individual in the pack will live up to their defined responsibilities. This in itself promotes group unity. Wolves are careful not to duplicate efforts.

Wolves understand that if they fail to succeed on the first attempt they must keep trying. It is understood within the pack that you never quit and it isn’t over until the “alpha” says it is over. That doesn’t mean that the wolves are successful 100% of the time but it does mean they never quit trying. If they [pack] are headed somewhere and you [obstacle] try to stop them, they’ll look for another way. They’ll climb over. They’ll climb under. They’ll go around. They keep looking for another way to succeed. The wolf and pack looks ahead, and does everything possible to enable success.

One of the common characteristics of successful leaders is a sense of curiosity. Wolves share insatiable curiosity. They investigate everything, taking nothing for granted. They seek out opportunity. They have established priorities.

Wolves work together during the hunt in order to ensure success. Each wolf has a role to play and all members respect their positions and follow their leadership. The [pack] members have positions in the hierarchy, inferior to those of the alphas [the leadership team]. The [non-leadership team] wolves have their own unique roles under the leadership of the alphas.

Wolves have a unique sense of urgency. They depend on one another. They’re focused, hard workers when it comes to feeding [survival]. Wolves do not live to hunt; they hunt to survive. They live by an unwritten code that says the good of the pack comes first.