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Game Theory: What StanChart’s Tinwalla Learned About Business Strategy From Wildlife Photography


We live in a world of instant gratification, we expect everything to come to us instantly. However, my interest in wildlife photography has really helped me relearn the lost art of patience. As we are completely immersed in a culture “right now”, unfazed Mother Nature continues to provide unique and breathtaking moments for those who are willing to wait patiently.

My interest in wildlife photography started about 15 years ago when my friend took me on a tiger census activity in Ranthambore. I volunteered for the activity as it sounded pretty exciting, but I didn’t know what to expect.

When we arrived we were given a pen and paper and asked to sit for 24 hours on a small machan near a waterhole. It is one of the few bodies of water where predators and prey might congregate to drink water on a hot summer day.

The temperature was 46 degrees, and when I started I didn’t know how long I would last. However, as the day progressed, my excitement kept me going. It was a different feeling than anything I had known before. And I almost felt like I felt the thrill of adventure brushing against my skin.

My senses were completely on fire as I strained to listen to the slightest rustle and scan my surroundings for the slightest movement as the anticipation continued to build up within me.

Although I expected the tiger to come and drink the water, I couldn’t help but marvel when I finally saw the mighty creature. I don’t think I’ve seen anything so magnificent, and the visual of dominance associated with grace left me stunned.

From that point on, there was no turning back. Since then, I have visited all the tiger reserves in India, including the Sundarbans, both on the Indian side and on the Bangladesh side.

The tiger is the supreme predator who combines his raw power and strength with an equal amount of intelligence and elegance. This is probably what makes them one of the most remarkable animals in the world.

Indeed, for most tourists, being able to see a tiger is often the only criterion for the success of a safari. My endless fascination with the incredible species has often led me to reflect on the behavior of the mighty beast and how I can learn important leadership and life lessons from the great creature.

Tigers never attack their prey at first sight

A tiger does a lot of planning and homework, sometimes hours before launching its final attack. It carefully tracks the prey, considering various factors and scenarios before finally taking decisive action.

There is an important lesson to be learned here. People often feel the need to immediately jump into action or present a point of view. But doing it is wrong if you are not ready. It is important to start thinking about how you will react to a situation before it happens.

Moreover, good planning and a solid strategy form the basis of any activity or project you undertake. It is crucial at any phase of your business because it helps you better understand the challenges while helping you define specific goals and action plans.

Sun Tzu said it best in The Art of War: “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be in danger.

Tigers are fierce predators, capable of taking down prey twice the size. While most animals prey on animals that are smaller than themselves, a tiger often targets large prey like bears, rhinos, and crocodiles.

They can do this by first patiently learning about their competition to find the exploitable gap.

Likewise, when you’re up against competitors, I think it’s important not to be afraid to engage with Goliath and explore what your competition is lacking and what their weaknesses are.

Just because your competitor is bigger doesn’t have to dictate how you act and behave. Instead of playing their game, disrupt the space by creating a modified situation that capitalizes on your strengths and exploits their weaknesses.

Tigers are versatile

Tigers can live in a variety of forest and grassy environments. They can live in temperatures ranging from -35 degrees Celsius in Russia to 48 degrees Celsius in India and can adapt to annual precipitation as low as 600 mm to 8,000 mm.

In terms of leadership too, versatile leadership, made up of a broad repertoire of skills and behaviors applied appropriately to changing circumstances, is important for having engaged employees and helping teams adapt to unexpected changes. If you cannot approach different issues in different ways, you would be at a distinct disadvantage in today’s business environment.

Tigers can adapt, improvise and think on their feet

Tigers normally prey on the neck of their prey, but change their tactics if necessary.

When attacking a crocodile, a tiger will not bite the crocodile because it is covered with armored skin. Instead, it will attempt to blind the crocodile with its claws, then flip the crocodile onto its back so it can slice off its soft belly.

Additionally, when hunting for bears, tigers have been known to mimic bear prey to attract unsuspecting bears into their jaws.

This concept is also encapsulated in the slogan of the United States Marines “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome”. This state of mind enables Marines to cope with any physical, mental or spiritual challenges.

Life is unpredictable and there are many opportunities for disappointment and hardship. This is why we all need to feel comfortable with the discomfort when trying new things and challenging our mind and body in different ways.

As my fascination with the mighty cat and the lessons to be learned from it increased, my passion for the cause of coexistence between humans and wildlife and for avoiding conflict, one of the greatest threats to all. wild species, was also increasing.

I use my photography as a way to raise awareness and dispel misconceptions as I work with the forestry department on mitigation measures to avoid any unwanted consequences.

My recommendation to any budding wildlife photographer or nature enthusiast would be to plan a visit to Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks. They can offer some of the best tiger sightings, as well as heavenly and diverse landscapes.

– The author is COO, Standard Chartered India and South Asia. Read more articles from the Game Theory series here.




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