7 Leadership Lessons from a Mountain Goat

Photo courtesy of flickr page of artist WildPhotons.

What can we learn from a mountain goat? You can learn something useful from practically any picture, scene or situation if you are observant. Here are seven leadership lessons from a mountain goat.

1. Stay fit. These 200 lb beasts sure need to stay in shape to be able to leap up or down sheer cliffs at any time. I haven’t seen any pictures of fat mountain goats, for good reason.

2. Engage fully in whatever you do. Just like this mountain goat you need to stretch every muscle, sinew and even your tongue to get at the next little bit of opportunity.

3. Hang in there. The ability to persist in the face of adversity is as important as the ability to climb or leap to to new heights, if not more important. As to the mountain goat, so the the leader, sustaining the gains you have made until you can pull yourself up to the next ledge, is critical.

4. Thrive in your proper niche. Mountain goats wouldn’t last long on the Savannah, but they do well at the tops of mountains. Put yourself and your subordinates in the places they are most suited for so they can perform at their best.

5. In lean times, be able to change what sustains you. The mountain goat can eat most anything that grows up in the mountains. That’s not a whole lot, but includes pine needles, lichen, moss, juniper berries, alpine flowers and bark. It has to eat what it can in order to survive at 6,000 feet. Leaders should be the first ones to tighten their belts in tough times, demonstrating the ability to survive on less before asking others to do the same.

6. Know how and when to step down. Mountain goats live about a dozen years in the wild, a little more than double the average tenure of a Fortune 100 CEO. I would bet far more CEOs have “fatal falls” from their lofty positions than do mountain goats.

7. Don’t be fooled by what you see. While the picture of this mountain goat looks very impressive, we only have a limited two-dimensional perspective. Perhaps he is only 5 feet above ground and not high up a mountain cliff. We need to look beyond the obvious and seek out the facts.

Hang in there everyone, and have a great week.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    April 13, 2009 - 8:18 pm

    In fact, the author of the photo stated that the goat was far above solid ground, and (in his opinion) had no apparent solid surface to balance its tremendous bulk should it decide to move. Which raises the question of how it arrived there in the first place.

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