Teamwork- The beehive of effectiveness
Teamwork is central to all progress and achievement. Nothing much has been achieved by an individual working alone. In this book, Noah Mangwarara picks great lessons from the beehive where the key message is that you never produce anything that is sweet without the contribution of others. Honey as a product can survive for a thousand years, still as sweet and never rotting. Honey bees only live for about eight weeks but their produce outlives them. It takes about six months for the honey to be fully matures, reaching maturity after the ones that started the process have long departed. Noah points out that anything worthwhile should survive the originators of those products.
The book is a combination of leadership and teamwork wisdom where the author highlights that every team is made up of leaders who understand their roles and they come together to produce great results. At the centre of everything shared is the concept of role clarity where the beehive, even though appearing to be a simplified form, has members assuming clear roles to produce the results that are a marvel for all. The heartbeat of the hive revolves around the queen bee whose mandate is primarily to lay the eggs that sustain the bee colony. On average, the queen bee produces two thousand eggs every single day, laying a whooping two million eggs in her lifetime. The queen bee models the way as she inspires other team members to contribute in amazing fashion.
The foragers have the role of scouting for pollen and bringing it back home all day long. Foragers are such hard workers that they visit two thousand flowers daily, picking as much pollen as they can for the good of those who are at home, probably cementing the adage; “as busy as a bee.” Fifty to hundred flowers are visited at a time as the foragers gather pollen, going back home to offload once they have enough filling up the pollen baskets located in the bees’ back legs. By the end of the day, twenty round trips are completed. Whilst the foragers are going about their round trips, the beewax foundation builder are busy constructing the structures within which the queen bee lays the eggs. These builders also produce beewax, a special insulator substance that is used to build the walls of hive to regulate the temperate to the rightful levels.
Within the beehive are the nurse bees whose assignment is to take care of the larva and also to feed and bath the queen. The guard bees are the security agents of the hive, bent on ensuing that there is no intruder into the colony. These sacrifice their lives for the sake of protecting the hive. After a sting, the bee dies immediately thereafter. If one dissects a beehive, there is no dirt found within the hive, the undertakers would have done their job of keeping their space sparkling clean. The beehive is one of the cleanest environments on earth. With such high levels of role clarity, the best of the best emerges from these small insects. The beehive remains a great example of a high performance team at work.
Besides the role clarity, other principles of note include the amazing communication that is displayed by the honey bees. In the event that one bee identifies a source of pollen somewhere, she determines the distance and direction of the food source from the hive. Going back to the hive with such information, she has to communicate to the rest of the team members about her find. She does this through a specialized language called the ‘waggle dance’ where she goes about in circles conveying the information about the direction and distance to the food source. In a very short space of time, the other bees are finding their way to the food. The same applies when bees die as result of poison on certain flowers. The surviving ones quickly convey the information to the rest of the team. It is through such high levels of communication that the bees adapt to a highly changing environment. Great teams have proper communication structures and systems in place, with every member of the team fully furnished with information that enable them to function effectively in their space.
Other principles shared in the book, which can be adopted by every great team include common identity, commitment, countability, character and caring for each other. With a common identity as guided by team values, stories and great memories from the past, the team is cemented as one unified whole that produces massive results.
The author tapes into his leadership, motivation and team building genius and exposure to drive the points home. Any team that puts into practice the ideas shared in the book stand to scale the heights of achievement.