Many of you may be aware that one of the great loves of my life is the honey bee and I even have a small bee business Cotswold Bees Ltd Honey bees can teach us a great deal when looking at effectiveness and why productivity and efficiency are no longer enough in the modern world. So, let’s have a look at why honey bees are effective not productive.
It would be very inefficient for each bee to operate in isolation from the others and search for food alone. The hive solves this problem by having scout bees which are sent out looking for the best forage and when they return they communicate the location to their sisters (the blokes don’t do any work) by interpretive dance. this dance is known as the waggle dance and communicates distance and direction. Now the really clever bit!
If honey bees wanted to maximise production they would send all of the foragers to the best spot and maximise output from those flowers. Their bee based productivity figures would be maximised. This is the way so many organisations work. Once they have found a way to maximise output they throw all their resources into that area and maximise short term productivity. Bees, however, are cleverer.
Once the best site has been found, about 80% of the bees will harvest from that source. The others will act like the R&D department. the hive doesn’t look to maximise short term productivity. Instead it keeps resources back to look for the next thing. That way, whilst productivity is not maximised, the ongoing survival and health of the hive is assured. That’s effective.
Organisations would do well to take note. Don’t look to maximise productivity, look to being effective in moving toward the long term objective.
Effectiveness, why productivity and efficiency are no longer enough.
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We also run corporate courses using our bees to help with team building and effectiveness training Cotswold Bees Ltd