5 Entrepreneurial Leadership Lessons from the Raptor Playbook

photo credit: Universal Pictures

photo credit: Universal Pictures

Before you read further, be warned: spoiler alert. Turn away and go see Jurassic World first.

It's not easy being Blue . . . that is Blue the Raptor.  As the beta to human alpha Owen, she's negotiating some interesting dynamics.  Although she's the leader among the raptors, these humans have had the upper-hand since she was born, raising her in captivity.  While she respects her human alpha, he sure does look tasty. And now, she's all the sudden out of raptor prison and learning to lead without the usual constraints. Here are some lessons from the Raptor Playbook.

Keep It Real

Blue is unapologetically "raptor". She sticks to her core values and core nature, and everyone is clear on her lethal purpose. Entrepreneurs who articulate, communicate and follow their mission and core values will find opportunities better aligned with their goals. Its one reason business plans and annual strategies are so important. You're less likely to stray from your priorities and will stay focused on reaching measurable goals. Not everyone has the primal instincts and focus of a raptor.

Be a Team Player

In classic raptor style, Blue and her team work together to achieve goals and trust in one another's abilities. Whether pursuing a juicy pig or overtaking a careless human, the raptors make their plays together. A strong team is a business’ greatest asset. No one is an island. Even while taking the lead, an entrepreneur needs to coordinate and communicate with his team to realize success.

Be Nimble

Nothing says "raptor" like managing change and pursuing new opportunity at light-speed. Some humans find this out the hard way in Jurassic World. If you free raptors into the wild, don't be surprised if you become raptor kibble. Recognizing the new situation, Blue and the Raptor Pack switched gears in less than a minute. Opportunity can appear quickly and conditions can change with little warning. Entrepreneurial leadership requires seeing it, and having made preparations along the way, strategically leveraging resources to pursue it.

Get Back Up

Raptors, like entrepreneurs, are highly competitive, self-motivated and driven to succeed. There's nothing like being soundly knocked down to take the wind out of your sails and send you into the Trough of Sorrow. In grand Hollywood (and raptor) fashion, Blue never says die. Grit and perseverance are required to succeed. Set-backs are to be expected, but you've got to take courage, pick yourself up, and regroup. Lesson learned. Your next attempt will be more successful.

Collaborate on Big Jobs

Being beat down and thrown around like a rag doll by an overwhelming force can truly bring home the reality of your situation. When T-Rex enters the battle with Indominus Rex (no comment on the name), Blue partners mid-fight with T-Rex to take on a big job neither had the capacity to manage alone. Not only lethal but vicious, Indominus Rex required a teaming of strange bedfellows. In business, seek out partners who can complement your strengths and collaborate harmoniously to achieve success.

In short, take a page from the Raptor Playbook and kill it, metaphorically speaking.

And, yes, I kinda want a raptor for my birthday.

Find Your Joy to Inspire Innovation

The first time I just about lost my mind with a camera was on vacation in Alaska. Maybe the landscape offered the inspiration I'd never before encountered -- to the tune of 600+ pictures.  Some were good. Some were great. Some . . . let's just leave those for another discussion.

As with any new adventure, I soon wanted to do it really well.  (What's the point of learning something if you don't do your best?)  So, I went to iStockPhoto.com and learned about all of their rules and guidelines.  Then, spent about three-days time over the next few months sorting through all of my photos to select the best ones. The process taught me a lot about what makes a good photo and how much work the professionals put into their craft.

Now, this had little to do with my marketing services, yet I was intense and intent. The foray into the creative brought me joy.  And, it brought me out of my bubble.  Now, I can't help but approach work with my evolving photographer's eye. That was an unexpected, though welcome, side effect.  I look at aberrations, emphasis and harmony differently in everything from social research to entrepreneur consultation to desktop design. Photography has brought a fresh focus (pun unintended) and creativity to nearly every aspect of life, and revived my innovative mind.

Sometimes, it's important to step away from your everyday routine to discover a new approach or innovation to the challenges and opportunities you encounter.  What brings you joy and fulfillment?  And, are you taking the time to pursue it?  You may not think you have the time to invest, but you may find the investment paying off in ways you didn't predict.

Got a few minutes to look at nature's beauty? See my emerging photography portfolio online. Let me know what you think and share the ways you feed your inner creative.

Copyright 2015 Gaea L. Honeycutt. All rights reserved.