As a young boy, I participated in the scouts. I started as a cub scout and work my way up to the boy scouts. As a cub scout, there was one exercise I’ll never forget. It was called snipe hunting. On one particular camping excursion, the scoutmasters would tell us about the snipe hunt we were going to participate in on Saturday night. You see snipes were very elusive, they only come out at night, they move very fast and you rarely ever see them.
We were carefully instructed on exactly how to execute this snipe hunt to achieve success. First was right after sundown, we would all need to have a large paper bag and a flashlight. We were instructed to move through the open field, while both shaking the bag and shining the light on the very back of the bag. As we understood, the snipes were attracted to the light and the movement.
When one of us was lucky enough to actually catch a snipe, we were instructed to immediately twist the top of the bag, yell out “snipe” and a scoutmaster would run over, take the bag with the snipe and run it to the main cabin that also had the mess hall/kitchen.
On that particular evening, with excitement, we all went out on our first ever snipe hunt. We were all very excited to hopefully be the one to actually catch one of these elusive creatures. We were all imagining what they looked like, what would happen when we catch one, what it would actually taste like and if we would actually like it. All we could do was imagine.
As we were hunting one of my buddies thought he actually saw one in the bushes, however, didn’t get a good look as it moved too fast. Finally, one of the boys yelled “snipe!” As instructed, he quickly twisted the bag, the scoutmaster quickly ran over, took the bag with the snipe and ran it to the main cabin. Ten minutes later another boy yelled “snipe!” The second scoutmaster quickly ran over, took the bag with the snipe and again ran it to the main cabin. The third scoutmaster shouted, “Okay boys, we caught two, the snipe hunt is over. We’ll meet you all in the main cabin.”
As we gathered in the main cabin, we all were very excited about actually seeing what a snipe looked like, what it tasted like. The boys who caught the snipes were so proud and were getting high fives from their buddies. All we could do at this point was wait. Finally, what seemed to be forever the scoutmasters came out of the kitchen with a big pot and placed it down on the big wooden table. We were all waiting with anticipation for them to take the lid off as so we can all finally witness these elusive snipes.
When the scoutmasters took the lid off for us to look inside. We all leaned over to look, to see there was actually nothing in the pot except for a note, reading “Congratulations, boys on executing your successful snipe hunt. There’s no such thing as a snipe.” We were all stunned and confused. What about the two boys who actually caught them, they felt them run in the bag, they felt the weight. How can this be?
The scoutmasters informed us that this was an exercise in proper listening and execution and we all passed the test in flying colors!
I share this memory as a valuable lesson. Those scoutmasters were great leaders. They lead us all on a successful snipe hunt. We were 100% believers in the process and the eventual outcome. We did whatever they instructed us to do, we executed and accomplished it as a team. Our imaginations and excitement ran wild during the entire process. In the end we were all a bit discouraged at first, however, very proud of the praise.
The question/lesson to you as a leader, are you able to get your team to faithfully, excitingly, flawlessly execute like us boys did that evening? Imagine how your team will enthusiastically represent your brand under this influence. Imagine how that energy will transfer to and attract loyal customers. Imagine how that would create your powerful synergistic team. Most importantly, imagine how that will increase productivity and eventually transfer to your bottom line.
Hmm, something to think about.
Teach your team to snipe hunt as it just could be the winning strategy!