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  • George Samuels

How Wolves Will Help Shape the Collaborative Economy

There is an article on the Harvard Business Review about the rise of the “Collaborative Economy” (also known by many other names including the “Sharing Economy”), which grabbed my attention. As we move past the gloom and doom of 2012, which was radically misinterpreted by Hollywood and the general Western public, we’re beginning to see a new type of world take shape.

In this new world, as predicted by many indigenous cultures around the world, we will see a reunification of both masculine and feminine energies. Some South American tribes called it the Prophecy of Eagle and the Condor – the thinking and feeling modalities of our global consciousness.

In North America, Native Americans have stated that the survival of the American people will depend on the survival of the wolf. When wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone Park in 1995, after almost being exterminated, it was a huge sigh of relief for many who understood the importance of the wolf in restoring balance to the ecosystem. However, over the years, wolves ran into problems with ranchers and farmers who saw them as nuisances to their livestock or businesses.

To top it off, individual states have different rules and regulations as to how wolves are “maintained” (e.g. hunted for sport or population control). Without fully understanding the intricate system of mother nature, how can we understand the wolf? After all, according to legends, it is the wolf who gave human beings our social systems and structure on which to survive and thrive.

Wolves and man share a very close relationship.

Redefining The Wolf

When it comes to the wolf, many, even today, immediately imagine snarling teeth and hungry packs. Werewolves, the Big Bad Wolf, and even today’s “Wolf of Wall Street”, all provide a somewhat negative perception of the wolf. But there is much more to be told and revealed, and that will be the beauty of the world we’re now shifting into.

In the New World, the other side of the wolf, where the intimate social ties and collaborative tendencies are found, will be revealed and highlighted. Its ability to remain independent, while loyal to a pack, will be re-examined and respected. We will rediscover what it means to be truly collaborative and, once again, learn from the source of original wisdom – Mother Nature.

I believe the stories of the wolf were passed down, from generation to generation, so we could benefit from them. By returning to the Source, we can learn how to live in harmony again with our environment, and each other.

The Art of The Kill

We have witnessed what happens when we remove one species from an ecosystem, the entire system becomes unbalanced. And, in the case of wolves, ecosystems become extremely unhealthy. There’s a saying, “The wolves keep the elk strong.” This does not endorse bullying or suggest any aggressiveness. What it does mean is that we must learn how to see the bigger picture, that strength and weakness are part of the same design. That predator and prey share a symbiotic relationship. As human beings, we have the privilege of being able to recognize this, but can actually do something about it.

When a wolf in the wild makes a kill, it actually provides food for ravens, foxes, bears and other nearby wildlife. Although the wolves may take a large chunk of the prime meat, its efforts are shared with all in some way, shape or form. Within a pack, there are strict rules around who gets first dibs, but this is all done to keep order. Not unlike a democracy, nor a strict dictatorship, leaders are respected but the structure of the pack can always be challenged.

“The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf.”

Packs, Teams & Communities

Within a community or team setting, the lessons of the wolf become more intriguing. Clear communications, healthy boundaries, and knowing each other’s roles, helps everyone stay clear and focused – whether in times of chaos or peace. It’s not structure for structure sake, it’s knowing that in order to have a successful hunt, everyone needs to be on the same page. Everyone needs to know why they’re doing what they’re doing, and what they’re main objectives are. For wolves, it’s their prey. In business terms, the prey is a goal, mission or vision. When everyone is clear on the prey, the team structure and coordination helps to bring that prey down. Then, once the prey is successfully captured, the pack joins in on the kill.

For those of you who struggle with the words “kill”, “prey” or “hunt”, simply replace it with words that are more relatable or contextual for you. The main point here is that we are taking observations from our greatest teacher, Mother Nature, and applying it to solve or understand real-world scenarios.

Wolf packs have a very tight order and structure.

Collaborating in the New Economy

The Collaborative Economy is about understanding the interconnectedness of each and everyone of us. It’s about learning how to share skills (via observation or hands-on practice) and understanding one another’s role in the entire global ecosystem. And, like the wolves, a Collaborative Economy will require a focus on longer-term thinking, not just quick wins. This will also mean spending more time on long-term relationship-building, like packs who spend very long periods with one another and form formidable bonds.

In the new economy, our greatest teachers will be those who have remained true to the Source – who hold the secrets of “sustainable” (aka harmonious) living through their very existence and evolution.

What does a “Collaborative Economy” mean to you? Share your thoughts below!