Bulls & Bears – A Great Management Story

Bulls & Bears – A Great Management Story

Many of you would know the story of the two salesmen who were sent to a country in Africa to explore the market for shoes there.

When the first salesman reached there, he was shocked to see the way things were. He immediately called his boss at the head office and reported, “Nobody in this place wears shoes. So there is no market for our shoes here. I’d better come back.”

Then a second salesman was sent, and he too reacted with shock at what he saw. But his shock quickly changed into excitement, and he called up his boss and told him, “Boss, I have great news. Nobody in this place even wears shoes. Imagine the potential for our products… the whole market is ours for the asking.” The company very quickly got into the market and as the second salesman had predicted, made a complete killing.

In stock market terms, this is a classic difference between bear and bull thinking. And circumstance being the same, this difference in approach and thinking ultimately decides whether we fail or succeed.

In our own company, I come across many examples of bearish thinking and approach that keep both the individual and company from progressing. Take the example of a new market that we enter. A person is sent there, and is given all the resources, support and time to perform. One year goes by, then two, then three…before we finally run out of patience, and send someone else, and suddenly, we start seeing results almost from day one.

What changed? Certainly not the market, nor our fortunes. But while the first man’s restrictive “bearish” approach held him back from taking advantage of the market’s potential, the next man brought in a bullish approach that put us on the track to success and growth.

What characteristics of the bear and bull determine whether they fail or succeed?


– Walks the known path

– Negative Mindset. Operates out of fear.

– Accepts existing status quo

– Business model, strategy, resources

– Does not know the market

– Benchmarks against Past Performance

– Waits for things to happen

– Driven by Problems

– Controlled by ifs and buts

– Lives by excuses

– Low on speed and energy

– Follower


– Continuously explores the unknown

– Positive Mindset. Operates out of confidence

– Reinvents everything

– Studies the market continuously

– Benchmarks against Potential

– Makes things happen

– Driven by Solutions

– Rolls up his sleeves and gets to work

– Lives by performance & deliverable

– High on speed and energy

– Leader

Which one are you the bear or the bull? This will determine how far and how fast you will climb the stairway of Success, Achievement and Growth…

By   Andrew   Clapton

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