Hear what 702's John Robbie has to say about Ian

702 and John Robbie recording transcript

Robbie: … and there was a break for tea, and after tea they had the guest speaker, and I introduced him.

His name is Ian Thomas and he’s a lion expert, and he told me I’d actually introduced him and interviewed him on 702 years ago.

I don’t remember, it’s many, many years ago but a very nice guy, and he’s written a book called “The Power of the Pride”.

It’s about lions, obviously, because that’s his specialty, as a former game ranger, but it also links the behaviour and sort of points to lessons that people can learn in business, particularly in a team environment. Not just business; anywhere where there’s a team, using the lions.

He tells stories about his life as a ranger, especially with the lions, and he’s got a nice sense of humour.

He’s very laid back and he’s got good lines that he works in but this was the unusual part – as he started talking, he had a couple of pictures, on the side of the screen. A big screen with just still photographs of lions and they’re wonderful photographs. He’s a world-class wildlife photographer as well.

Not many of them though, and as he went through this presentation, he changed them occasionally, depending on what he was talking about but he had no videos.

I remember thinking, you’re talking about lions, why not have videos showing what the lions do?

There were still pictures of males, females, pictures of the paws, the cubs and so on. About a dozen or so he used during the presentation to illustrate different parts of the story. Very good pictures that he took but no videos. Initially I thought this was a drawback but in fact, it wasn’t, because that was the whole point.

He, Ian Thomas, physically becomes the lion with his body movement. It’s the most incredible show. He’s just an ordinary guy, he’s in his 50s, but he’s standing there, and as he’s telling these stories, he becomes a lion.

He describes how a lion attacks a zebra. He talks about them drinking at a waterhole, how they hide in the grass, how they crawl and so on. It was totally unbelievable. And how that links to teambuilding.

A lot of these presentations are sort of rubbish. At best you can say the links are tenuous, and some are downright ridiculous but the parallels and the way he uses lion pride behaviour to make relevant business points, I thought was amazing.

As he talked, I was thinking of people in 702. I was thinking of people in the various teams in 702 and suddenly you look at strengths and weaknesses. Many weaknesses and you saw areas and you say “Hang on a second, this would actually make a lot of sense.”

Ian Thomas had 200 young English visitors who were tired, they were hung over, and they’d sat through half a presentation already. They were enthralled and transfixed.

It went on for about 2 hours but they had to extend it due to popular demand. You could have heard a pin drop and he ended talking about young adult males who had been, kicked out of the pride, and how they grow and get strong and then decide to take on an old alpha-male lion and what happens.

It’s one of the most incredible live performances I’ve ever seen. His name is Ian Thomas and he’s written a book called “The Power of the Pride”.


And for me, as well as myself being enthralled, here’s a South African guy who is Parktown Boys, he’s Wits, he has business background as well, and game rangering, and he’s putting on something that is world-class to a group of foreigners.

So I can tell you, it’s just a total endorsement. I get nothing out of it. But if you’re looking for something different at a conference or a seminar and you haven’t seen him, do it. You’ll be simply knocked out.

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