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Prey to Predators of Possibility: Be the Hunter not the Hunted

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Unveiling the Hunter and Explorer Archetypes

I served in the Australian Regular Army for 11 years where my last posting was to the 8th 7th Battalion, The Royal Vicotira Regiment who have adopted the Puma as their mascot and where the Regimental Sergeant Major at the time (Michael Carrol, CSM) emphasised the battalion motto: Be The Hunter Not The Hunted. I often reflect on his words and the emphasis he placed on them for inspiration and having reflected on my career in the Army, I am drawn to the symbolism organisations use to inspire behavioural traits in their people.

The notion of the hunter, in particular, resonates deeply with the ethos of military training and strategy. The emphasis on vigilance, adaptability, and calculated action aligns closely with the core principles that define effective leadership within the armed forces. The military often invokes the symbolism of the hunter to instil a sense of purpose, determination, and resilience among its personnel, emphasizing the critical importance of proactively identifying and addressing potential threats before they escalate. The parallels between the mindset of the hunter and the qualities required for successful leadership are striking, underscoring the significance of embracing these archetypes in the context of professional development and organisational growth. As I transitioned from my military career to the realm of leadership development, I found myself continuously drawn to the enduring wisdom encapsulated in the hunter archetype, recognizing its universal applicability and relevance in guiding individuals and teams toward achieving their highest potential.

In the vast tapestry of leadership and personal/professional development, we often turn to the natural world for symbols of power and authority. Metaphorical references to predatory animals as symbols of power, authority, and strength have long held a significant place in the human psyche; where, eagles, wolves, and the lion, often referred to as "the king of the jungle," are popular choices, and have been emblematic of leadership qualities and strength for centuries. However, it's time to shift our perspective and look within ourselves. Instead of emulating creatures of the wild, we should aspire to embody the qualities of hunters and explorers—those who have shaped the course of human history through creativity, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of progress.

By understanding our innate inclinations and personal drivers, we can navigate the terrain of leadership more effectively and with greater self-awareness.

The Human Odyssey: From Vulnerability to Inventiveness

To understand why we should identify more with hunters and explorers, we must first acknowledge our humble beginnings. Humans, unlike apex predators, did not emerge from the womb with sharp claws, fangs, or night vision. Instead, we emerged from the shadows of the prehistoric night as soft and vulnerable creatures, sheltering in caves, fearful of the darkness that enveloped us.

However, it's crucial to recognize that that as cave dwellers we were not primitive beings devoid of intelligence resigned to be food for monsters; rather, whether driven by the need for sustenance or the primal urge to protect, they defied their fears and ventured into the night, challenging the very forces that threatened their existence. In a display of unparalleled courage and ingenuity, they did what no other creature on Earth had done before them or since, they created Fire—a symbol of warmth and security that not only dispelled the darkness but also ignited the flame of human progress. This transformative act marked the inception of our journey as architects of our destiny, laying the foundation for the remarkable civilization and technological innovations that would follow.

As we explore our personal narrative and delve into the intrinsic motivations that propel us forward amidst challenges, we gain valuable insights into our unique perspectives and capabilities. This understanding forms the basis for embracing powerful tools that can help us navigate complexities with enhanced self-awareness and adaptability, enabling us to tap into our innate resilience and drive for innovation.

The Genesis of Babel: A Narrative of Adaptability and Diversity

In the biblical tale of Babel, a profound transformation takes place as God confounds humanity's languages, leading to the dispersion of people across the Earth. Contrary to being a punitive measure, this act can be seen as a divine invitation to explore and spread our horizons. It serves as a potent reminder of an inherent human trait—our innate drive to explore, venture beyond the familiar, and boldly embrace new frontiers. This pivotal moment in the narrative underscores that our very essence is tied to a relentless curiosity, a thirst for discovery, and an unquenchable desire to push boundaries. Instead of limiting us, the scattering of languages in the Tower of Babel story highlights the human potential to adapt, communicate across differences, and ultimately thrive in diverse environments. It signifies the birth of a multiplicity of cultures, each with its own unique perspectives, and reinforces the notion that the essence of our humanity lies in our ceaseless quest for exploration and understanding.

Understanding our unique inclinations and behavioural tendencies enables us to leverage our innate curiosity and adaptability, unlocking greater potential within our pursuits. By gaining insights into our communication styles and approaches, we can effectively navigate diverse environments, fostering collaboration and innovation across various cultures and perspectives.

The Hunter and the Explorer

In our pursuit of leadership development, it is imperative that we embrace the roles of the hunter and explorer within ourselves. These archetypes symbolize the essence of human strength far more profoundly than predatory animals.

Recognising our behavioural patterns, we are able to delve into the intricate interplay of our personality traits and behavioural tendencies, facilitating a deeper understanding of how we approach challenges and opportunities to better leverage our strengths, whether it be understanding our teams, competitors, or the dynamic landscape of our industry.

Embodying the Hunters Mindset: A hunter is not just someone who seeks to conquer, but one who understands their prey, respects its power, and employs strategy to secure sustenance. Similarly, effective leaders understand their teams, competitors, and the ever-evolving landscape of their industry. By utilizing effective methods, we can gain an insightful comprehension of the dynamics within our teams, and leverage this understanding to foster collaboration and nurture growth. A comprehensive awareness of our individual work styles and preferences can empower us to lead with heightened empathy, astuteness, and strategic finesse.

Embracing the Explorer's Spirit: Explorers, too, are vital archetypes of leadership. They venture into the unknown, confront uncertainty, and adapt to changing circumstances. Leadership requires the ability to navigate uncharted waters, pioneer new paths, seize new opportunities, and expand the boundaries of possibility. Just as explorers charted the Earth's unexplored territories, leaders must chart the course to a brighter future for their organisations. By intertwining valuable insights, we can harness our innate propensity for exploration, enabling us to fearlessly embrace new challenges and fuel innovative solutions, foster adaptive leadership, and contribute to driving organizations toward uncharted success.

Transcending Animal Symbols: Discovering Our Intrinsic Potential

In the classic tale of "The Jungle Book," Shere Khan, the tiger, has a deep-seated fear and hatred of humans (referred to as "man" in the book) because he was once burned by a human's fire. This incident left him with a permanent scar on one side of his face and a lifelong grudge against mankind. When he learns that a human child (Mowgli) has been adopted by wolves and is living in the jungle, he becomes determined to eliminate what he perceives as a threat to the jungle's natural order. Shere Khan refers to fire as the "red flower" and sees it as a symbol of man's power. He believes that by killing Mowgli, he can prevent the boy from growing up and learning how to use fire, which could potentially pose a significant threat to the animals of the jungle. Shere Khan is a dominant and prideful character who views himself as the undisputed ruler of the jungle. He sees Mowgli's presence as a challenge to his authority, and he wants to eliminate any potential threats to his dominance. Shere Khan is the most feared creature in the jungle but, even Shere Khan, the mighty tiger, fears the ultimate force in the jungle—Man and his red flower (fire).

To be beholden to symbols of the animal kingdom to represent our power, authority, or strength is to limit and diminish ourselves. The Bible, among other sources, teaches that humans were created in the image and likeness of the divine Creator and given dominion over all the earth and the creatures on it. We are the top of the food chain; we are the apex predator, and we have more power than any animal. Being imbued with the potential to be godlike in our capacity is far more powerful a symbol than that of any animal, regardless of how ferocious it may be.

This recognition, coupled with our insight into unique behavioural inclinations, facilitates the unlocking of our complete potential as leaders and innovators, allowing us to transcend perceived boundaries and shape a world of limitless possibilities. By acknowledging our instinctive responses and potential biases, we develop a more nuanced comprehension of our interactions and reactions, empowering us to navigate intricate social dynamics with grace and emotional intelligence.

Integrating Everything DiSC® Insights: Unleashing the Power of Self-Awareness

Amidst the exploration of the hunter and explorer archetypes, an understanding of the diverse behavioural profiles and communication styles becomes instrumental in fostering effective leadership and cohesive team dynamics. The integration of Everything DiSC, a comprehensive personality assessment tool, adds a layer of depth to our understanding of individual strengths, motivations, and communication preferences.

By delving into the nuanced insights provided by Everything DiSC, leaders can decipher their unique leadership styles and adapt their approaches to suit the specific needs of their teams. Through the lens of DiSC, the leader's ability to recognize and leverage the diversity of behavioural tendencies within their team is heightened, facilitating a more inclusive and collaborative work environment.

Furthermore, the integration of DiSC principles enables leaders to nurture a culture of empathy and understanding, fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation for each team member's distinct contributions. By recognizing the individual inclinations and communication preferences of team members, leaders can tailor their communication strategies, promote effective collaboration, and harness the collective strengths of their teams.

Incorporating Everything DiSC into the exploration of the hunter and explorer archetypes not only enriches our understanding of individual behaviours and preferences but also serves as a catalyst for fostering resilient and innovative leaders who are adept at navigating the complexities of the modern business landscape. Through the integration of DiSC principles, leaders can unlock the full potential of their teams and drive transformative growth within their organisations, propelled by a deep awareness of the diverse perspectives and behavioural dynamics at play.

Conclusion: Embracing Our Destiny as Hunters of Knowledge and Explorers of Possibility

As we embark on our journey of leadership development, let us cast aside the traditional symbols of predatory animals that may limit our understanding of our potential. Instead, let us embrace the roles of the hunter and explorer within ourselves, recognizing that our true strength as leaders lies not in dominance over other creatures but in our capacity to innovate, adapt, and create a better world. Integrated with DiSC insights, we fortify our understanding of how our unique qualities contribute to our leadership styles, enabling us to navigate challenges and opportunities with enhanced clarity and purpose. We are not mere predators; we are the architects of our destiny, the hunters of knowledge, and the explorers of possibility. It is through these traits that we can transcend the limitations of the natural world and create a legacy that embodies the divine image in which we were formed.

Embracing the spirit of the hunter and explorer, we can lead our organisations and societies toward a brighter and more promising future, driven by a deep awareness of our individual strengths and motivations, as illuminated by the DiSC personality assessment. Through self-awareness and a deep understanding of our behavioural inclinations, we can unlock our full potential as leaders, fostering collaborative environments and nurturing resilient and agile teams that drive collective success.

Why be food when you can eat the monster, my ancestors did it and so did yours!

Be The Hunter, Not The Hunted.

Personal challenge for you

In honour of our ancient forefathers who risked all to step out into the darkness to hunt monsters for food carrying nothing but a flame torch and a few stone tools, and through their resilience, resourcefulness, and innovation brought light to the world; here are three basic things that everyone can do to embody the spirit of the Hunter and the Explorer:

Number 1. Make fire. Without the use of fire-starting tools; if you don’t know how, that’s ok just keep trying and you’ll get there, it’s the journey the counts not the destination.

Number 2. Make an axe. Not everyone has the ability or resources to create tools, but I think everyone should be able to place a new handle on an axe. So, if you don't already possess an axe, buy an axe-head and a handle and learn how to fit your axe head to a new handle. If you already have an axe, cut the handle off, and refit a new one. You’ll need a wedge and you can buy one but, but if you really want to go all out, you'll make one.

Number 3. Use your refurbished axe to chop some wood and make a fire without using fire starting tools to cook a meal. This is even better if you are cooking for more than one person.

Reach out to us to learn more about how Everything DiSC can revolutionize your approach to leadership development and organisational growth.

About the author

Sean Murray is Partner at HR Headquarters, specialising in Outsourced HR and Business Improvement for the SME sector. He is a leader in the areas of Human Resources strategy, DiSC personality profiling, Emotional Intelligence and Business Benchmarking to improve organisational capability.

On a personal note, I don't have any literary sources for this article however, during my tenure of my final posting the Commanding Officer instilled in me a significant philosophy that I still draw from: "take pride in the success of others." With this in mind, I would like to acknowledge the following individuals, in no particular order, who have inspired me in various aspects throughout my career and who also served as inspiration for this article:

  • Craig Adams, Managing Director 2019–23

  • Annelise Pearson, Corporate Services Director 2019–23

  • George Bradly Simpkin, fellow Philosopher and owner of Georges Barber Shop Ballarat

  • John Voulgaris, fellow Philosopher and Pharmacist

  • Peter McLeary, Managing Director, HR Coach Australiaisa Pty Ltd

  • WO2 Michael Carrol, Regimental Sergeant Major 2018–19

  • Major Stan Carnes, Officer Commanding, Bravo Company 2017–19

  • Major Shane Armstrong, Officer Commanding Admin Company, 2017–19

  • CAPT Robert Powell, Officer Commanding, Alfa Company 2017–19

  • CAPT Luke Quinn, Adjutant and fellow Philosopher, 2018–19

  • WO2 Arron Francis, Chief Clerk (Senior Hr Manager) 2016

  • Sergeant Susan Madeley, Orderly Room Sergeant (HR Manager) 2015-16

  • CAPT Steven McNaughton, Operations Captain, 2013

  • LTCOL Murray Thompson, Commanding Officer, 2009–11

  • WO1 Fisher, Regimental Sergeant Major 2009–2011

  • WO2 Kim Beasland, Senior Sergeant Major Support Squadron

  • CPL Dean King, Personal Training Instructor, 2008–09 School of Infantry

  • WO2 Brown, Personal Training Instructor, 2008–09, School of Infantry.

  • Soldier Support Wing Staff, 2008–09, School of Infantry.

  • 5 PL Staff, 2008, Rifleman Wing, School of Infantry.

During these current times, it is important to recognise those around you who influence you in positive ways.

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