In How I put my husband through the hoops Amy Sutherland writing in G2 for the UK Guardian describes how she used tricks trainers use on wild animals such as dolphins, elephants and african crested cranes to modify her husbands behavior!
Sunday Times Online, May 07, 2006 reports in Dolphins ‘know each other’s names’ that DOLPHINS may be even closer to humans than previously realised, with new research showing they communicate by whistling out their own “names”.
A significant body of research into evolution now indicates that survival of the fittest is only a part of the story. Life did not take over the globe by combat but by networking!
One of the aspects of bioteams in nature is that they seem to have just the right amount of structure to handle their environments. Too much and they would be slow and cumbersome. Too little and they would lack the sophisticated responses to move them up the food chain. In either case the consequences are extinction!
Much has been written about why people collaborate and the pay-offs. Key concepts include Tit for Tat and The Prisoners Dilemma discussed in Dysfunctional teams: bioteam them.
There are many ways to analyse dysfunctional teams in organisations such as deficiencies in trust, absence of shared objectives, poor co-operative working practices or inappropriate leadership styles/models. However taking a purely biological perspective opens up exciting new possibilities for really transforming these teams performance.
We are used to having to work very hard to make collaboration happen in teams and groups however sometimes it just emerges. The Christmas Truce is the true story of how British and German soldiers in the trenches on Christmas eve 1914 called a truce and celebrated Christmas Day by singing carols, exchanging gifts and playing football together. It is an amazing example of nature’s most effective co-operation strategy, Tit for Tat, which emerged spontaneously for, sadly, an all too short time.
Credit to Christopher Allen & Shannon Appelcline for identifying an interesting historical book, Robert’s Rules of Order, originally written in 1896 and proposing a set of rules for conducting Fair and Orderly Meetings & Conventions. Many of Robert’s Rules would seem to apply to today’s virtual meetings too.
Pheromone-based messaging is the oldest and most evolved form of biological signalling. It uses chemicals to effect communications between animals and insects through smell and taste. There is an excellent opportunity for today’s virtual teams and mobile groups to re-organise the way they use their internet, email, messaging and presence-aware technologies to gain huge benefits from it.
One of the main dilemmas for team leaders and members is the thorny issue of responsibility. We often fixate on the problem of leaders and members not taking enough responsibility but according to Dr Scott Peck they can also do damage if they try to take too much!