Animal Strategies – Zebra & their responses to threats


Business leaders have been responding to the COVID threat over the past year. The zebra, according to Stephen Berry, in his book Strategies of the Serengeti, has six key responses to threat: Fight, Flight, Flock, Freeze, Fragment and Frolic.

For businesses to be able to fight their way back from the crisis they will need data and he suggests the good old SWOT analysis to work through the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Many will have experienced a flight response – where the leaders exit the business suddenly or perhaps the business itself is carved up and sold off.

Flock is an interesting approach, the herd come together to increase survival and we have seen new partnerships and collaborations borne out of the crisis.

The freeze option is essentially what has happened under furlough, allowing businesses to freeze until they can reopen.

If the zebra’s first 4 strategies aren’t working and the lion is amongst them, they fragment, going off in different directions to ensure most survive. Have you seen fragmentation in your organisation?

And then there is frolic – another word for panic – remember that meaningless restructure?

What can business leaders learn from the zebra?

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