What the Hive Can Teach Business about Leadership, Efficiency, and Growth

Sample Lessons from the Hive

Dallas Morning News
May 30, 2010
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By JIM PAWLAK / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

The Wisdom of Bees

Michael O'Malley (Portfolio, $22.95)

Some of Michael O'Malley's 25 lessons we can learn from bees:

Protect the future. Bees think and act long-term. Faced with ecological conditions, they forage over a wide territory – think wide and deep, not narrow and deep. When pickings are slim, they don't downsize the hive; scout bees find new sources. The message: New market development should never stop.

Make good enough decisions. Unlike businesses, bees don't suffer from paralysis analysis. "Assessor" bees visit sites found by scouts and literally compare notes to ensure that decisions are made without the bias of scouts.

Develop your team. Bees go through "an orderly developmental progression." They learn how operations work inside the hive before they become foragers. The foragers have specific jobs – not all gather pollen and nectar. Some bring water to dilute the honey and cool the hive; others bring tree sap to patch holes. Roles are defined and bees are trained by peers.

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