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The Hawaiian Hamburglar

January 27, 2012 by  


“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here’s a story in the Huffington Post I think many of you will relate to in one way or another (Emerson certainly did). Recently, in Honolulu, a former Air Force sergeant, her husband and their two year-old daughter stop at the local supermarket, a national chain, to pick up some groceries. The mom, who happens to be 30 weeks pregnant, is famished and feeling faint. She quickly eats a $5 chicken salad sandwich. She pockets the sandwich wrapper with every intention of paying for it, finishes shopping, heads to the register with her husband and daughter and pays for her $50 worth of groceries.

The family exists the store and is immediately confronted by a security guard who informs her that she has just shoplifted. Surprised and embarrassed, the mom apologizes profusely and offers to immediately return inside to pay for the $5 sandwich. The security guard refuses her request, EVEN THOUGH SHE JUST BOUGHT $50 WORTH OF GROCERIES, and brings her, her husband and daughter to the store manager.

Now, here’s where the tale gets truly Orwellian. The supermarket manager, while sympathetic to the woman’s plight, is unwilling to break from store policy and calls the police. The police arrive, see that the “apprehended suspect” has a child with her, and, unwilling to break from policy, call in Child Services. Child Services arrives, and, unwilling to break from policy, TAKES THE CHILD INTO PROTECTIVE CUSTODY while the former Air Force Sergeant and 30-week pregnant mom and her husband are arrested and brought to jail.

Finally, after 18 hours in custody and posting $50 dollars bail, each, the mom and dad are reunited with their child, the national supermarket chain gets united with a public relations nightmare, and the couple starts fielding enquiries from a bevy of enthusiastic and skilled lawyers. And all for a $5 chicken salad sandwich. But here’s the rub, along every step of this terrible and ridiculous ordeal, the technocrats following the orders were fully aware of the absurdity of the policies they were enforcing but were unwilling to contradict them.

Now, in some ways we see this happening in the business world all the time, especially in an international arena, where the adherence to rules can vary significantly between cultures. According to psychologist Barry Schwartz and his compelling TED Lecture, the difference between a great manager and/or worker and a mediocre one is the wisdom to know when to follow a rule and when to ignore it. His lecture is a near case study in how humanity and wisdom make the world and workplace a better and more productive one.

In a complimentary lecture, take a look at how one visionary CEO, the largest manufacturer of carpets and flooring in the world, decided to trust his wisdom over prevailing opinion and make his company entirely green. It’s a story of exquisite executive foresight, courage and profitability. Believe it or not, in the 14 years since the company began their green and zero-impact protocols, sales have gone from $591 million to nearly $1.1 billion! How’s that for wisdom?

By the way, do you ever find yourself eating or drinking something you plan on buying at the supermarket before you pay for it? Couldn’t you compare this to dining at a restaurant where you eat first and pay later?

Cultural Differences Between Brits & Yanks Starting With Axioms of Language and Humor

November 25, 2011 by  


A colleague recently forwarded me a pair of articles dealing with the subtle cultural differences between Brits and Americans when it comes to rhetorical styling and humor. Both articles basically came to the conclusion that Americans are much more comfortable with a direct approach, where hopes, fears, aspirations, successes and ambitions can be clearly stated, whereas Brits rely on irony, self-deprecation and sarcasm to better get the point across, whilst simultaneously not becoming a target for scorn or mockery.

Interestingly, even some of what’s come to be considered Winston Churchill’s most inspiring speeches from World War II (“Fight on the beaches” and “Their finest hour”) were, at the time, considered too assured and head on for British tastes.

And in the realm of modern humor, it seems that Americans have more of an appetite for British irony than the British have for America’s directness (check out this list of British TV shows remade for a US audience). And, while you’re at it, try to think of a single American TV show, especially a comedy, that was ever remade for a British audience. Can you?

All of this brings me to my point, Winston Churchill and Ricky Gervais aside. When it comes to the workplace, what do you find more enjoyable or less taxing to be around: the direct approach and open ambition of the US or the self-deprecation and irony common to a UK office? What kind of humor are you accustomed to in the workplace?

Adam from RW3 CultureWizard

What Motivates People Across Cultures? Reconsider Time & Motivation

November 24, 2011 by  


It’s amazing how much a skilled teacher, a good marker and a grease board can bring to life. Here are two ten-minute animations that are definitely worth your time.

The first video deals with a statistical analysis of what motivates people, across various cultures, to work harder and achieve more. Hint: it’s not money.



The second is a culturally and intellectually rich lecture regarding the three ways people tend to relate to time and the massive impact it can have upon our personal happiness and the well being of organizations and societies. It also goes a long way to scientifically quantifying why the north and south of Italy have such a difficult time getting along.


The “Divided Brain” and Its Cultural Impact

October 30, 2011 by  


This Iian McGilchrist explanation of the brain and how it impacts our culture is so cool and so applicable to the often complex and challenging relationships we have with ourselves, the work we do and companies we work for that you’ve just got to watch it. Eleven minutes and forty-eight seconds (alright, I watched it twice, so more like twenty-three minutes and thirty-three seconds) to a deeper understanding of how your brain works and what parts you’re putting most to use.

Male Leopard Showdown

June 5, 2011 by  


Camp Pan Male Leopard

Male Leopards steal the show every time! There is just something about the brut power and the way they go about their business. Their thickly set neck muscles and broad shoulder blades lay testimony to their gorgeous physique. They carry with them a certain air of mystical nobility.

The male Leopard dynamic’s at Londolozi sits on a knife edge. The area boasts an impressive 10 males that are regularly seen. 5 of these individuals are 2,5 years or younger meaning that they too young to influence territorial dominance at the moment. That leaves 5 males vying for possession of the central Sabi Sands, some of Africa’s most prime leopard real estate.

This creates a platform upon which we are seeing some fascinating male-male interactions. In the south we have the Short Tail 5:4 Male, a male whose territory extends so far south that he has to be an Olympian just to go from one boundary to another. In the northern parts of Londolozi the Marthly 3:2 Male (aka Tyson) is looking to extend his quarters south, however he is now facing a challenge on his eastern front from the massive male, a relatively new arrival to Londolozi, known as Emsagwen.

Male Leopard at Londolozi

Male Leopard at Londolozi

The notorious, and ever present Camp Pan 4:3 Male seems to be under the most threat and his age may well be catching up on him. From the north this assault takes the form of the Marthly Male, from the north-east Emsagwen and from the south Shorty. But his strongest contender and challenger for his crown appears to be coming from the Dudley Riverbank 5:5 Male. Just a couple of days ago these two were seen squaring off against each other and the next day Camp Pan donned a new set of facial scars to signal that he took quite a beating! Tracks indicate that he appears to be spending a lot of his time east of us and on the other hand we are having near-daily encounters with the 5:5 Male around the vicinity of camp…an area previously reserved for sole rights of Camp Pan!

Although I am a little sad to witness what may be the end of an era I am also excited about the prospects of having a Mother Leopard descendant at the realms of central Londolozi. Remember, Dudley Riverbank 5:5 Male is great-great-great grandson of the famous Mother Leopard and his grandmother was the widely loved 3:4 Female.

But I can assure you that Camp Pan has not sung his final song and will not lay down his arms easily. I reckon he still has some time left in him; however from an offspring perspective I have to be somewhat controversial and say that I hope his time comes sooner rather then later. The reason I say this is that with so many males running around all the cubs that are being born are arriving into a warzone. In the past 5 months we have seen Vomba, Mxabeni, Nottens and Tutlwa all possibly losing litters before we even get a glimpse of the youngsters and I think the male saga is to blame!

Male Leopard at Londolozi by Richard du Toit

Male Leopard at Londolozi by Richard du Toit

Males are coming into the area and in an attempt to take the thrown they kill any cub not sired by them This would explain why the Nyaleti Female, whom we have heard has cubs, has moved her territory temporarily north of our boundary, so as to ensure that whilst these male-male conflicts are occurring, her precious litter survives. Simply put, she is removing herself from the battleground!

So we all watch in interest to see how the Male Leopard saga turns out. I must admit I’m fighting in the corner of the 5:5 male. I think that sometimes change is needed to any regime! Let me know what you think of my thoughts? Are you a fan of Camp Pan or would you like to see new blood in the ring?

Which leopards do you think will hold onto dominance or become territorial.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Filmed & Produced by: Rich Laburn

Tsalala Cubs Eating Impalas

May 30, 2011 by  


Post image for Tsalala Cubs Start Eating ImpalasThe two Tsalala Pride Females are completely in control of things at the moment! In the last 4 days they seem to have set up camp at Nanga Pan; using it as a base to stash away their thriving 4 cubs whilst picking off poor unsuspecting Impala who wander down for a drink.

Yesterday we managed to track them down on yet another Impala kill. In the process we stumbled upon 2 more similar kills within 200 m of where the family was happily playing and feeding. It was sensational to watch these 4 youngsters having an absolute blast running about, jumping on each other, tackling the already dead impala and trying to come to terms with their recent growth spurt.

On an even better note the cub with a limp is still surviving and keeping up with the rest of the pride. The remaining 5 members of the Tsalala Pride were also observed this week in Marthly and were looking in fine shape. When do you think these 2 groupings will rejoin?

Tsalala Cubs Eating an  Impala

Tsalala Cubs Eating an Impala

The Lions – The Majingilane Coalition

March 2, 2011 by  


Majingilane Male Crossing Manyelethi River

The name ‘Majingilane’ was coined with reference to watchmen who patrol the night, marching with intent, never altering their course. The Majingilane Coalition are believed to have originated from the Manyelethi Game Reserve and were part of a pride which had built up a feisty reputation for hunting buffalo.

The Majingilane males were born sometime around 2004/2005.  By late 2009, the 5 males were forced to leave their natal area and moved south into the Sabi Sands. Deciding to work as a group instead of individually they roamed around like a gang, causing havoc and sending animals, of all species, scattering for safety.

There were rumors of their arrival in the Sabi Sands in late 2009, but it was only at the beginning of June that they asserted their
dominance and the lion dynamics in the Sabi Sands changed. On the 8th of June 2010, the Majingilane Males came to blows with the dominant Mapogo Males, Kinky-Tail and Satan.

What occurred over the next 24 hours was brutal to say the least. Kinky-Tail and Satan isolated one of the 5 Majingilanes, bringing him down with spine-breaking bites. A short while later, the surviving Majingilanes retaliated and pinned down Kinky-Tail, whilst his brother helplessly tried to defend him.

Upon realization that Kinky-Tail had been killed, Satan ran non-stop into the western sector of the Sabi Sands where he would join up with the remaining four of his Mapogo brothers. There was a belief that the two warring coalitions would come to blows shortly after that.  However, what was billed to be the ‘Greatest showdown of male lions ever seen’, never actually materialized, although there are supporters who claim the fight will still take place…

The surviving four Majingilanes took control over much of Londolozi, starting with Marthly and then slowly areas south and west across the Sand River.  With this land grab came the purging of the lions that did not fit in with their plans for dominance.

Majingilane Male Crossing Manyelethi River

At Londolozi, the first pride to experience their fury was the much-adored Tsalala Pride. Four out of the eight sub-adults were killed leaving just the four young girls and their three mothers. As of September 2010 the two adult lionesses gave into the Majingilanes and began mating with ‘the enemy’. It’s amazing, in human-logic, to think that the females were attempting to fall pregnant with the very males which just months prior had so violently killed their own offspring. But nature works in strange ways and this phenomenon ensures that it is only the strongest and best genes, which survive. One thing you can be sure of is any lion making it through this period will have to be tough as nails.

Next came the Sparta Pride, in mid December two of the three cubs were killed and still at the end of January 2011 a few of the Sparta pride members were unaccounted for.  The pride has been split into fragments and in fear of being found do not vocalize.  They are thus, unable to reunite as a solid unit. So plays out a difficult passage of time for the Sparta Pride.


The Majingilane’s continue to grab more land, and exert their dominance, as they become more vocal and their darkening manes start to thicken. As they continue their quest for ultimate domination it makes me wonder two things:

  1. Will we ever see a Maginjilane/Mapogo showdown?
  2. Will these four males reach the point where this mutualistic relationship starts running dry?

For now they are strong, and they only continue to get stronger. Whilst we hate to see what they are doing to the lions which we hold so close to our hearts, we love the drama and action that comes with it. Either way you look at it, we are fortunate to be able to see this story unfold first hand in one of Africa’s remaining wild frontiers.  The video below outlines who each of the four members of the Majingilane Coalition are.

Death of the Breakaway Sparta Pride

February 27, 2011 by  


Sparta Breakaway

We have recently received the news that the Breakaway Sparta Pride suffered a major blow. A few days ago, the body of the last youngster, the last remaining cub of the Mapogo dynasty, was found at the remains of a Rhino carcass. One has to feel for the 2 lionesses who have fought for close on a year to keep this little lion alive. In December 2010 the Breakaway Sparta (2 + 3) were attacked by the Majingilanes resulting in the death of 2 of the cubs. For the next 2 months the remaining 3 lions snuck their way through the thickets of southern Sparta trying to avoid any run ins with any males. The incident occurred in Singita and the rangers and trackers believe that the attack lay at the hands of the Southern Pride.

Although one cant help feeling sad for their loss this may actually be for the greater good of the Sparta Pride. The 2 females can now reunite with the core of the pride, from which they have been separated for over a year. During this time the 2 females have had to not only defend their cubs from numerous ambushes but also try and provide enough firepower to pull down prey. The core of the Sparta Pride has also had a difficult year as these 2 lionesses took with them a huge amount of experience and leadership. With the Majingilanes seemingly set on extending their land grab in a southerly direction the lion dynamics are still by no means concrete. We wait to see if the various members of the Sparta Pride will join up and what the moral in the camp will be like when this moment happens.