By Mary Ann Faremouth,
We are all striving to be successful in the New Work World. We could probably all take a few lessons on working in harmony with others due to the various changes Covid has brought to the employment arena. It may sound strange to suggest that humans can learn about being more successful in a new work environment by observing a species in nature that has mastered the process. Actually, we might be hard pressed to find a species that does it better than the honeybee.
Like humans, bees are incredibly social creatures who will work together for common goals. They came to my mind recently because they have been in the news much of late, and for various reasons that could have serious consequences for our planet. But for the purpose of this article, let’s focus on the many lessons we can glean about how to work together effectively and become more successful in the New Work World. By investigating the techniques the bees use, we can make our own working environments more productive, enjoyable, and successful on our journey to build a satisfying career.
Nature is not just a place to seek peace and solitude, a place to de-stress from our hectic personal and professional lives; it is a source of deep wisdom that can inform our decisions and give us perspective on our lives. Observing the honeybee in nature offers us some very compelling lessons that we can apply to challenging and changing situations. Let’s take a look at a few strategies the bees use and relate them to our New Work World:
1. Adjust to Changing Conditions
When bees seek a change in hive location, simple rules and open, team-oriented information guide their decision-making processes. Honeybees are nature’s optimum team players. They work together in everything they do. “They also behave as if individuals matter, while at the same time keeping the common good of the hive as their priority. If one bee is suffering or falling behind, the others step up and do the work, making sure the collective productivity is never reduced“ (Mark Winston, “Bee Time”). What if, in a work environment, we adopted that same mentality of doing whatever it takes to get the job done? If a co-worker, for example, had an emergency and needed to temporarily leave the job, we could like the honeybee, immediately step in to help and handle whatever was necessary to keep things rolling. Even if helping meant putting in overtime. The co-worker would be very grateful and the pitch-in attitude would be remembered by supervisors when performance reviews and raise time came around. Not to mention that the good feeling we experience when we help someone is always another notch in our self-esteem belt.
2. Establish Effective Communication Methods
Bees communicate through movement and by releasing powerful pheromones. Using a unique “waggle dance,” a bee can let others know where the new patch of blooming flowers can be found with pinpoint accuracy. If there is a threatening outsider lurking, the bee can use its stinger to release pheromones to make others aware of the situation. They are always concerned about each other’s safety and communicate effectively to try to keep everyone safe. What if, in our work environment, we tried to anticipate work challenges and discussed with each other possible measures and solutions to prevent problems or avert disaster? When we have an open communication style and always keep each other as well as supervisors involved, we become even more valuable to the company and often are acknowledged for our foresight and leadership skills. Also, keeping the communication style positive and respectful during times of change is sometimes not easy to do but is always a step in the right direction.
3. Make “Carpe Diem” your signature
Bees have a “Seize the Day” attitude in all that they do. They make the most of the sunlight during the day and stash food in odd places so as not to waste time. They learn which flowers might offer them benefits, noting their makeup and leave them if the reward becomes too difficult to obtain. They don’t dwell on an activity if it isn’t producing results; they move on. They more or less live in the “NOW” as Exckert Tolle (author of Power of Now) suggests, instead of holding on to methods of the past that do not serve them well. What if in the New Work World we got rid of the negative mindset of all the challenges we have had to endure because of Covid and looked toward a brighter future with new opportunities? What if we start taking more online classes? What if we sought a career consultant or mentor to develop a new strategy to allow us to achieve success? Holding on to regrets, negative energy, or hostility only delays our ability to move forward in a more exciting and growth-oriented direction.
4. Keep On Dancing!
Bees use a “waggle dance” to communicate with each other. The alignment of the bee to the sun during the dance communicates direction to other bees. The duration of the dance communicates distance. This way, honeybees can communicate with each other with incredible accuracy as to where flowers are, and how far away they may be from the hive. I always like to remind myself of the great song by John Michael Montgomery, “Life’s a Dance” in times of transition and change. The verse below always comes to mind:
“Life’s a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don’t worry about what you don’t know
Life’s a dance you learn as you go.”
We all have to deal with the changes in the New Work World, but we must also keep taking the steps to get us to where we need to go. We are all learning new steps these days but we need to keep on dancing! Preparing ourselves with a positive mindset, caring about others through the process, and communicating in a clear and effective manner can only produce good results in our New Work World.
Let the honeybee traits and behaviors be your “modus operandi” on your career journey. Bees are fascinating insects. We can learn many things from them that we can apply in our personal and professional lives. Every bee in a hive is industrious and purposeful. They work together for a collective purpose. Each bee looks at the big picture, strives to understand where it fits into the picture, and works diligently for the benefit of all. Be determined to make 2021 your best year ever, and never forget to DANCE!
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.