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Articles Tagged With: "teamwork"

Nurturing And Motivating Virtual Teams In Uncertain Environments

Nurturing And Motivating Virtual Teams In Uncertain Environments

The world is currently facing new challenges and the impacts of potential global pandemics are shaking fundamental working paradigms that contributed to and engineered economic success in the past. Companies are being forced to look at ways to support their workers through virtual technologies that foster remote working and collaborative project engagements in distributed, non physical environments. The problem is that the future of work is not easily comprehensible or transmissible amidst the ranks of leadership teams and identifying how an organisations productivity, employee engagement, cultural diversity and unity is improved in virtual settings forms part of the resistance against moving to a complete virtual team model - despite its benefits. With the Bioteaming manifesto now reaching fifteen years since conception, it is now relevant to revisit what fundamental elements makes virtual communities and distributed teams sustainable and committed to cohesion and success.

virtual team connectivity


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Collective Intelligence For Teams Inspired From Nature

Collective Intelligence For Teams Inspired From Nature

Whilst it's true that the rise Artificial Intelligence threatens industries and jobs alike, it also presents an opportunity for humans and teams to embrace the new paradigm by staying one step ahead and making themselves smarter and more capable in harnessing collective intelligence. The term collective intelligence refers to the resulting knowledge or wisdom that ensues when many agents or individuals are involved in a group and where this type of 'intelligence' cannot exist through an individual endeavour. It is therefore important that in the face of tectonic shifts in technology and the rise of intelligent machines coupled with the threat of automation; teams and humans embrace a form of 'swarming' in order to not only future proof themselves but create the right type of environment to achieve outcomes that could not be reached through individual pursuits. In this article, I refer to various examples of how Nature's team achieve this 'swarm intelligence' and appropriate how these can be achieved in the organisational setting through Bioteaming.

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Customer Intelligence and Teamwork Drive Innovation

Customer Intelligence and Teamwork Drive Innovation

Innovation happens in many places and has many faces. Enterprises are required to nurture internal processes that work in sync like ecosystems to encourage front line intelligence to feed ideas through to management so that services, products, processes and teamwork ensues collaboratively to deliver benefits to the Value Chain. This requires effective team work and a supporting methodology that aims to treat your team more like an agile soccer team if you think about it so that anyone can effectively take control of the ball and score the goal.

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In the book "Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice" by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen; the core concept of the "Job To Be Done" theory is introduced which is hugely relevant for enterprises wanting to leverage collaborative team work in creating value. The theory stresses that in order to drive organisational product, service and process excellence; we need to focus on alleviating the forces of anxiety, inertia, substitution and resistance across both the customer and employee value chain. Christensen articulates a mechanism to achieve this by firstly creating "specs" that define what outcomes and values are required in order to lead to customers or employees firing old methods, solutions, products and services and adopting new ones. In doing so, the product development team (as an example of a department vested with solving consumer problems) will be satisfied as they have induced consumer adoption either by bringing non-consumption into consuming contexts or working on incremental product and service innovation. Christensen states that "The circumstance is fundamental to defining the job (and finding a solution for it), because the nature of the progress desired will always be strongly influenced by the circumstance".

This is important as traditionally, managers usually follow one of four primary organising principals in their innovation quest (or some composite therefore) being product attributes, customer characteristics, trends and/or competitive response. The challenge here is that these are not bad or wrong but they are essentially sampling of the most common and are insufficient and therefore not predictive of customer behaviours. In this article, I allude to how the Bioteaming action rules across the Organization, Execution and Connectivity Zone facilitates the dynamics required to solve the 'job to be done'.


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Communication Frameworks For Virtual Teams Inspired From Nature

Communication Frameworks For Virtual Teams Inspired From Nature

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I previously wrote about the most effective communication methodology using pheromone messaging inspired from Nature to identify and augment a robust, team focused unified collaboration system here. In a followup article, I write about how online collaboration tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams embody the tenets of the pheromone messaging system that Nature has employed to foster effective collaboration and teamwork within their environment. The integration of these virtual collaboration tools leads to the incubation of high performing virtual teams. Through simple changes in mindset and a reconfiguration of existing protocols, organisations can benefit from increased productivity, communication efficiency and trigger serendipitous collaboration within, across and beyond enterprises.


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Creating Effective Team Communication Systems

Creating Effective Team Communication Systems

Fire Ants Teamwork In Nature

Project and enterprise teams across all organisation types are perpetually exposed to a stream of information flows that ebb the natural tempo of processes, policies, system mechanics, codes of conduct and collaboration protocols. These collectively bring upon the information and knowledge economy and the biggest problem here is that everyone is constantly in flux amidst a conundrum of competing batches of instruction, directives and stimuli whilst being overwhelmed with attention deficits. So how do we nurture distributed and collective intelligence in a setting where directives, knowledge and information are constantly fighting for prioritisation? How do teams effectively manage communication and leverage unified communication platforms to drive smart behaviours that lead to focused outcomes? We do this by looking at how Nature has employed the oldest and most evolved form of biological signalling, using chemicals to communicate through smell and taste, but appropriating it for the organisational context.


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How To Optimise Team Size In Uncertain Environments

wolfpack terrain.pngImage Source: Wolf Pack Explains 'Alpha' Behavior

The law of requisite variety (a term originally rooted as the first law of cybernetics) states that "If a system is to be stable, the number of states of its control mechanism must be greater than or equal to the number of states in the system being controlled" . In enterprise contexts, this means that that teams and organisations need to nurture their ability to handle dynamic and complex changes stemming from the external environment and have enough structured capacity to react with collective resources in the face of these stimuli so as to not fail and become a 'un-viable system'.


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The evolution of effective team working and how you can accelerate it!

The evolution of effective team working and how you can accelerate it!

By observing newly formed and existing teams playing business simulations I have learned some important insights into how team-working 'evolves' and offer here some specific ideas on how you might accelerate this evolution in your own organizational teams.

On the road to Effective Team Collaboration there seems to be two intermediate phases of 'na?ve collaboration' which many teams seem to go through - Hyper-Communication and Over-Delegation.

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Top teams understand the 4 different types of Teamwork in Nature

Top teams understand the 4 different types of Teamwork in Nature
What do we mean by "Teamwork"? We often talk about Teamwork as if its a singular thing however in nature there are 4 different types - each of which have a very precise meaning. I call these Solowork, Crowdwork, Groupwork and Teamwork itself. An effective team knows how and when to use each type - an ineffective team only uses one!

*** Stop Press Ken's new book on teams is out A Systematic Guide to High Performing Teams ***


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How nature optimises its teams: small is beautiful but big is powerful

How nature optimises its teams: small is beautiful but big is powerful
Nature has a way of automatically right-sizing a group to tackle the job at hand. Just like the Russian Matryoshka Dolls (dolls within dolls), small groups link into bigger ones, which in turn link into still bigger ones. In this follow-up article to "Why penguins have no commanding officer" and "Did ants invent the perfect system for communicating via mobile technology?", Ken Thompson writing for NESTA explores what we can learn about teamwork and group/community size from nature's most successful teams.

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Stop people making bad commitments and poor estimates

Stop people making bad commitments and poor estimates

Imagine the scenario. The all-day team workshop went so well. You just stopped short of a group hug. You finished off by agreeing the actions. Everyone was so pumped up and committed. Fast forward 2 weeks and all the actions are forgotten - just words on a page somewhere! Sounds familiar? What went wrong and how do you stop it next time?


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Bioteams and the beliefs of high performing teams

Bioteams and the beliefs of high performing teams

Team Beliefs are the fuel which can really energise or kill team effectiveness. Unfortunately this is often the most neglected aspect of a high-performing team initiative. In this article I remind people of the key beliefs of high-performing teams.


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Another Bioteams lesson in teamwork from the ant

Another Bioteams lesson in teamwork from the ant

The BBC Nature site reports on research published in the journal Naturwissenschaften which has discovered that a certain species of stinging ant may grab a fellow worker in their jaws and take them with them to help manage large food items they cannot carry by themselves.


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TEN Great Bioteams Exercises for High-Performing Teams

TEN Great Bioteams Exercises for High-Performing Teams

Bioteams is a modern approach to teams, networks and communities who need to operate with high levels of agility and autonomy through different working practices and by exploiting the latest web2.0 and mobile technologies. Bioteams is based on research into nature's most effective groups and is described in detail in this blog (www.gyejsy.icu) and in my bioteams book. Here are ten great bioteams exercises you can use to enhance the agility and autonomy of any team:


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Bioteams and The Effective Executive

Bioteams and The Effective Executive

There is a major Bioteams article in the October 2010 edition of The Effective Executive Magazine which drills down into Pheromone Messaging, Collective Leadership and Team Ecosystems. The publishers (ICFAI Publications) have kindly allowed me to make the article available to www.gyejsy.icu readers.


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YouTeamFast: New Blog on working with Teams

YouTeamFast: New Blog on working with Teams
I am pleased to launch the YouTeamFast blog/online resource which pulls together Twenty One of my best techniques for assessing, mobilising, operating and improving teams and is the second website in my YouWorkFast series.

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The team with one member

The team with one member
I am the team! It might sound like heresy but sometimes the most effective way to produce something is not through collaboration but by just doing it yourself.

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Top collaboration books: 100 best books

Top collaboration books: 100 best books

To coincide with the launch of my bioteams book I am delighted to announce Bioteams Books where I intend to collect The Bumblebees Top 100 Collaboration books. Just click on the books tab on the main blog menu to go to a brand new section of the Bioteams blog where you will be able to see, on a single web page, all the best books, in my humble opinion, on collaboration, team dynamics and virtual/mobile teams.


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How Do I Motivate My Team? The Three-Step Turbocharging Method

How Do I Motivate My Team? The Three-Step Turbocharging Method
It is far too easy for teams to lose focus in today's fast paced collaborative virtual workplace. When your team starts falling behind and can no longer see just how mission critical their work is to the project, it is time for you to help the team focus, and in turn, turbo-charge their effectiveness. Ken Thompson and Robin Good suggest how you can re-kindle the team's fire.

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Lions v Buffalos v Crocodiles: Gunfight at OK Coral

Lions v Buffalos v Crocodiles: Gunfight at OK Coral

Watch this amazing video “LEONES VS BUFALOS VS COCODRILOS“ of a co-ordinated attack by a pack of lions on a baby buffalo which turns in to a battle of the species with a few big surprises thrown in.


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The four disciplines of great teams

The four disciplines of great teams
I have noticed that there are four things which good teams seem to do and which bad teams don't do. Check to see how your own team shapes up.

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KenThompson

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  • The Huffington Post: Biohacking the Organization
    An excellent article on Bioteams by Doug Kirkpatrick, US Partner at NuFocus Strategic Group concludes: "The power and elegance of bioteaming is indisputable. Whether organizational leaders will detach themselves from the perceived security blanket of traditional, artificial hierarchy in order...
  • Social design inspired by nature: Positive Impact Magazine
    Excellent article by Positive Impact Magazine which reviews the growing field of Organizational Biomimicry and showcases Bioteams, the Biomimicry Institute and Honeybee Democracy. Nice examples of what we have learned from pigeons, bees, beetles, termites, geese, shrimps and even fungi....
  • New Deloitte Collaboration Study laments meetings & distractions costs
    According to a new Deloitte Australia report, The Collaborative Economy, overlong meetings, distractions and failed projects are costing their economy $5.4 billion per annum....

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