It’s a jungle out there- training & development African style

Going on weekend safaris are par for the course living here in Kenya & with it comes learning about African wildlife.

I’m borrowing from some of the most amazing animals here & applying it to training & development.  Come on a training & development safari with me.

Gazelles can leap up to 3 metres.  That height keeps them out of the eyesight of cheetahs.  Gazelles can run up to 50 km/hr & sustain it for long whiles.

How it applies to training & development: Keeping things active is good for short whiles.  Get participants moving & involved.

Cheetahs on the other hand are sprinters.  When they’re going full tilt they are taking 150 breaths per minute & their body temperature can reach 30 degrees Celsius.  One more degree & they’d boil their brain, so while they can run fast (0 to 95 km/hr in 3 seconds), they can’t sustain it.

How it applies to training & development: cycle back & forth between action & reflection when training.  Officially this is called praxis.  Too much action means no reflection.  Take time to cool down participant’s brains & encourage reflection.

Cheetah young protect themselves by chirping like birds.  Literally.  Their cries for their mama sound like birds.  Makes sense when you think about it.  When cheetah cubs are hiding in the grasslands while mama’s hunting, they make like birds so predators aren’t alerted.

How it applies to training & development: look for inspiration outside the training & development field.  If cheetahs can chirp like birds, we as trainers can benefit from cross-pollination from other lines of work.  Explore.  Engage.  Enjoy.

Lions have fierce looking (& acting!) claws which when they take off on a hunt, dig into the soil & give them a good start.  The balance?  They can’t sustain their running for long.

Because hoofed animals (aka lion prey) don’t have claws to dig in & give them traction, they have a slower start when they’re off & running .  The tradeoff?  They can sustain their pace for long whiles.

Cheetah’s small & aerodynamic heads make them fast but on the other hand, they have small, weak jaws.

How it applies to training & development:  keep it balanced.  Know your assets & issues as a trainer.  Make sure you’re not training solely as you like to learn as that weakness will leave out learners.

The dark ‘tear lines’ on cheetah’s faces (see picture above) dampen the glare of the sun.  Think of the smudge lines football & baseball players put under their eyes.  Same thing.  Makes it easier to see.

How it applies to training & development: training’s hard work, take care of yourself when you’re training.  If you do you’ll be a much better trainer.  How can you avoid the glare & embrace the light?


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