“Honey bees are brilliant at collective decision making”, according biologist Thomas B. Seeley on the Harvard Business Review Blog. It is evident that all leaders can learn from the way bees communicate, debate and decide. How to mobilise all available knowledge, expertise, insights, views and opinions within the organisation in the process of choosing the right direction. This is all about strategy. In its highest form. The bees seem to be masters in this. Seeley lines out the next crucial factors for optimal decision making:
- Remind the group’s members of their shared interests and foster mutual respect, so they work together productively.
- Explore diverse solutions to the problem, to maximize the group’s likelihood of uncovering an excellent option.
- Aggregate the group’s knowledge through a frank debate.
- Minimize the leader’s influence on the group’s thinking.
- Balance interdependence (information sharing) and independence (absence of peer pressure) among the group’s members.
The boundaries between ecology and public governance seem to fade here by cross-overs like this study. Not so surprising. After all we can learn from governing systems in nature. The good news is that the knowledge of ecosystems is more and more entering the world of managers. This bee-example is ‘proven technology’ after all and ‘polished’ during millions of years. As if it is ISO Certified and ready for implementing in our public and private organisations . Maybe we can learn from the bees in finding our way out of the financial, social and economic crisis. Read more >
Picture: Louise G.S. Kruf ©