Research into teams and the value of teamwork indicates that the output of a top performing team is far greater than the sum of the individuals.
I was on holiday recently siting on the patio following a leisurely lunch, when I noticed ants beginning to gather. My son had dropped some breadcrumbs and they were drawing the attention of the ants who were in search of their own lunch.
I watched as one ant started to try and push/drag a large breadcrumb in the direction of the nest. A couple of other ants quickly joined him to help. The original ant then left them to it and went on ahead. This seemed to be for a variety of reasons, one to recruit more helpers and then to decide the direction they needed to go and at the same time to check which would be the clearest route to take. Having done this the ant then rejoined the group at the back and quickly adjusted the direction they were heading in. The ant left the group a few minutes later and repeated the exercise.
Watching the ants at work it was clear from the regular adjustments to the direction they were moving that clear and direct communication was taking place amongst the group, so smoothly were the changes taking place. It was if each ant had a clearly defined role in the exercise and were happy to take direction from the finder of the breadcrumb who had assumed the role of leader of this group. With military precision the breadcrumb was quickly dispatched to the nest, before the ants set out again in search of more food.
We can learn a lot from ants in terms of teamwork. Watching them working together you can see;
a) They share a common goal
b) They each understand their role and how it will affect the outcome
c) Communication is clear and direct
d) There doesn’t appear to be any place for egos and power struggles
e) The focus is on achievement of the common goal.
f) Regular checks are in place to ensure the target is still in sight.
All this from watching ants cart off a breadcrumb, or was it from drinking too much wine? 🙂
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”