The Carrion Hunters

Lions & Lambs (Part 6)

Over the past week, this blog series has looked at different kinds of hunters that can be found in any group or company.  Hunters, Seekers, Farmers and Gatherers are all ones that come to mind especially when we convert the talk to different kinds of sales people, producers and leaders in companies.  One group that is always talked about in undercurrents is the Carrion Hunters.  

The carrion hunters in the animal kingdom are scavengers who let other hunters and nature do their jobs first and then come in at their convenience to take care of what remains.  Whether they are vultures or insects, they have a job to do.  Unfortunately, because of the nature of their work, they are not thought of in celebrated terms.

Like all other hunters, the carrion hunters are driven first by survival, but that usually means hunting for a provider or place where the supply is readily available.  They are not really an ambitious group and are very hard to motivate.  Leftovers and low hanging fruit are good enough for them.  In fact they will cackle and howl over their finds as if they are treasure.  They are highly social in their own group, perhaps because they are not welcome inside most groups and are kept outside or, at best, on the fringe.

There are two groups of Carrion Hunters – the loud and the quiet.  

The loud ones seem to have an ongoing party, often noisy, always a display of bravado and each one taking the best first and often leaving anything they are not interested in at the moment to rot.  They engage in minor turf wars over delectable finds, but even these are more show than substance, and let everyone else know that they are there and watching for the next tidbit.

The quiet ones clean up whatever is left behind efficiently, without any noise. It is just a task and their programming doesn’t require them to do anything but take care of their business.  They are risk adverse and will not seek attention or do anything more than they have to, as there is no need or desire for growth or change.  They are so quiet you hardly know that they are there.

Both of these groups are important in the ecosystem of business.  Your hunting parties are often so focused on the hunt that they miss what is right in front of them or dismiss it as not worthy of their skills since there is little challenge.  Their risk – reward system is a strong component.  Your seekers with their keenly honed senses are on a trail and are not tuned in to anything that does not require a hunt.  Your farmers are not interested as there is no long term benefit of additional product to be made.  Your gatherers have already catalogued all of the low hanging fruit and leftovers and moved on to other fields.  So this is the cleanup crew.

The good news is that there is no new investment in harvesting low hanging fruit or what can be scavenged.  Your job is to now manage the scavengers so that you reap a benefit.  

The noisy group is quick to swoop in once they think something is there.  They also cost a lot with their inefficiencies, lack of quality in their job and the fact that, unless they are hungry or interested, nothing will really happen.  

The quiet ones are slow in their work, often frustrating because they will only do what they are pre-programmed to do and nothing more.  They are not necessarily there when you need them and there is no guarantee that what you need to clean up is on their agenda.

Understanding the value and the challengers of the carrion hunters helps in understanding that these groups exist in most companies.  It also makes us realize that there is a lot of “meat on the bone” if we figure out a way to harvest it.  It has been a long standing dilemma.  Young hunters trained on what can be scavenged may never learn to hunt and waiting for the scavengers to do the job brings little return on investment.


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