The Wisdom of Bees
What the Hive Can Teach Business about Leadership, Efficiency, and Growth
"It seemed to me that the bees were working on the very same kinds of problems we are trying to solve. How can large, diverse groups work together harmoniously and productively? Perhaps we could take what the bees do so well and apply it to our institutions."
When Michael O'Malley first took up beekeeping, he thought it would be a nice hobby to share with his ten-year-old son. But as he started to observe these industrious insects, he noticed that they do a lot more than just make honey. Bees not only work together to achieve a common goal but, in the process, create a highly coordinated, efficient, and remarkably productive organization. The hive behaved like a miniature but incredibly successful business.
O'Malley also realized that bees can actually teach managers a lot about how to run their organizations. He identified twenty-five powerful insights, such as:
* Distribute authority: the queen bee delegates relentlessly, and worker bees make daily decisions based on local cues and requirements.
* Keep it simple: bees exchange only relevant information, operate under clear standards, and use straightforward measures and feedback to guide their actions.
* Protect the future: when a lucrative vein of nectar is discovered, the entire colony doesn't rush off to mine it, no matter how enriching the short- term benefits.
Blending practical advice with interesting facts about the hive, The Wisdom of Bees is a useful and entertaining guide for any manager looking to get the most out of his or her organization.
- Penguin Publishing Group, May 2010
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