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Why is the Cheetah on the cover of a business book?

Up Close and Personal. Copyright: Shutterstock

Well, now that I think about it, there are probable about four reasons. Remember I am a strategic lion myself, so the cover wasn’t just a random, quick choice – it was planned, considered, researched, considered again, reviewed and considered again.

So reason one. I love the “big cats” and of the big three felines in Africa – the lion, leopard and cheetah – the cheetah is my favorite.  The slender, sleek, graceful, swift predator has beautiful golden, short, spotted fur with a bushy white tuft and the end of its tail. Just magnificent!

Reason two. The protagonist in the book, Sean, had to, after going on his own personal safari of self-discovery, find his own inner animal. Originally I had not selected a skill for Sean but as the story evolved and after rewriting many version of the parable, Sean gradually evolved into an efficient cheetah. So, with the reader only discovering that fact on the last page of the book there was a sense of delight and foresight in subtlety adding his “animal” at the beginning of the book — on the cover.

Reason three. No-one knows exactly the total numbers cheetahs that are left in the wild but best research estimates it to be less than 10,000. During my most recent trip to the Serengeti, during which I wrote the majority of my notes on what ultimately became Surviving Your Serengeti, I had the awesome first-hand experience with the three cheetah brothers and it was a very, very memorable experience. I saw them work together and chase down a wildebeest and then they allowed me to get up close and personal (less than 5 feet away).

Copyright: Shutterstock

Three brother Cheetah's in the Serengeti. Copyright: Shutterstock

Reason four. I absolutely abhor inefficiency and therefore by definition admire efficiency. For me efficiency is the ability to accomplish a task completely and correctly with the minimal amount of time or work. Efficiency, regardless of the field of application, focuses on the relationship between output and input. Tasks are completed in a proper and complete manner so that none of the tasks need to be repeated.

Yeah I know, perfection doesn’t exist, but most of us “love it when a plan comes together” (remember John “Hannibal” Smith in the A-Team) and things work out the way we plan them.  A cheetah reminds us to always be as effective and efficient as we can, to manage all our resources, to remain focused, follow through and follow up!

Stefan Swanepoel

Stefan Swanepoel - Stefan Swanepoel’s life has been a “Serengeti journey”—from his birth in Kenya to schooling in Hong Kong and South Africa eventually, running a New York-based global franchise network with 25,000 sales associates in 30 countries. In all he has served as president of seven companies and two non-profit organizations.

  • Lou Serago

    Am very interested in conducting a “What Animal am I” for my WCR Chapter here in Ocala.  What would be the best way to go about planning that for the 2013 Business Resource Meeting Calendar? 

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