The Lion Guard is an American animated television series developed by Ford Riley and based on Disney’s 1994 film The Lion King. The movie offers some useful lessons for your business. I watched ‘The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar’ with my boys and as I went about other business later, I reflected on the particular episode I had watched. Here, Kion, the prince of the Pride Lands and the son of King Simba was appointed the leader of the Lion Guard. The goals of the Lion Guard were to protect the Pride Lands and defend the Circle of Life. However, Kion did not have a team. So, Simba gave instructions to Kion to form a team that was made up of the fiercest, bravest, strongest, fastest and keenest of sight. Now you would have thought Kion would gather together a pride of lions that fitted this description right? Especially as the team was called ‘The LION Guard’. But no, he had other ideas. The animals he knew that fitted that description were:
- A honey badger – the bravest
- A Hippopotamus – the strongest
- A Cheetah –the fastest
- An Egret – the keenest of sight
- And of course Kion himself (the only Lion in the team!) – the fiercest
As far as Simba was concerned, his son was plain irresponsible. How do you populate the Lion Guard with non-Lions?! He rejected the team as constituted by his son. When the team save Kion’s sister from a herd of stampeding gazelles and defeated their enemies, the hyenas, Simba realizes that the team can actually protect the Pride Lands and defend the Circle of life. They earned his respect and he gave them his full support.
…And then I had a ‘light bulb moment’. I thought, ‘goodness this has so many lessons for today’s corporate world…’. And so I thought to share: Lessons for your Business
Goals, Performance, and KPIs
- Articulate and communicate goals clearly.
- Focus on the goals and let that be the basis upon which decisions are made
- Define key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the goals: fiercest, bravest, strongest, fastest, keenest of sight
- Be driven by performance and merit. Have teams with those who can fulfill KPIs (even if they are not all Lions!)
- Cast your net very wide (Kion considered all the animal groups in the land) when looking for the best and beware of biases
- Your selection criteria must take into consideration the KPIs. For experienced hires especially, look for track record.
Diversity and Change
- Be at ease with diversity and be open minded and un-biased. The team was made up of different animals with nothing in common except their willingness to use their skills for the good of the pride.
- Welcome the unusual and think outside the norm. Simba had to undergo a paradigm shift before he could accept the Lion Guard as constituted.
- Be willing to let go, when things change, change with it otherwise, your business will lose relevance. The Lion Guard had always been made up of Lions. However, for the Lion Guard to remain relevant today, its membership had to change to allow the influx of a fresh perspective, new talent and the most merit-worthy in all the prides land.
- Lion Guard today, Pride Guard tomorrow? as a business owner/founder, your aim is for your business to grow. It is possible that in the future, your stakeholders might clamor for a change in brand name/identity of your business. So how willing are you to let go of the name you had worked so hard to build a legacy for?
- Define what success looks like and express fully your thoughts in order to avoid assumptions. Do not fail to test your or the other party’s understanding. Simba assumed that Kion understood that the Lion Guard was to be made up of Lions.
Team work and Chemistry
- Be of one mind, one purpose: The 5 animals though different, had a positive relationship; they collaborated with and were loyal to each other and to the pride lands. They had the same goals and worked seamlessly.…together
The Lion Guard continues to be a favourite with my children and I still watch the television series with them, looking out for new lessons. I do hope you have found these thoughts of mine useful.
About The Author
Adebolaji Baiyewu specializes in articulation and definition of HR Strategy and Structure, Policies and Processes, Recruitment and Facilitation. founder of Divitiae Ltd an HR Advisory and Training Firm.