Virtual team mobilisation and three powerful tips from nature

There are 3 types of recognition in nature: Species Recognition, Kin Recognition and Individual Recognition. Bioteams can use Species Recognition to avoid freeloaders, Kin Recognition to build strong work-groups and Individual Recognition to ensure mutual team member co-operation.

Species Recognition

Species Recognition allows a bee or a monkey to recognise another bee or monkey.

All species have this innate ability however they make mistakes. For example, Ants are plagued by parasitic beetles, which imitate Ant signals and are admitted to and looked after by the colony. However they operate as 'free-loaders' - they don't contribute.

Bioteam Application:

Species recognition in a bioteam stops 'freeloaders'. In organisational teams this can be achieved through simple Ground Rules or Team Etiquette. Occasional freeloading should result in a gentle warning. Repeated freeloading should result in expulsion from the group.

Kin Recognition

Kin Recognition
allows a team member to know if another member is related to them.

This is important because helping kin promotes an individuals gene pool even if the individual does not benefit himself or herself. Kin recognition enables 'kin selection' which explains acts of Altruism, which would otherwise not happen according to 'The Selfish Gene' theory. Whilst it is not universally agreed how kin recognition works in different species it is believed that all species that live in social groups possess this ability.

Bioteam Application:

As a general rule, collaborative outputs in organisational teams are produced by small groups and reviewed by bigger groups. The engine of these outputs is the small work-group or sub-group. Kin recognition can be implemented in an organisational team by ensuring that the bigger team has the right set of tightly related sub-groups which operate well both in terms of individual relationships and complimentary skills.

Individual Recognition

Individual Recognition allows one individual member in a team to recognise another member.

Individual recognition is only present in natures' more advanced teams such as primates or dolphins. Individual recognition is important in these teams because it enables mutual co-operation. I help you in the expectation you will later help me. However if I can't distinguish you and you can't distinguish me from the other members of the team then there is no way to return the compliment. Hence mutual co-operative behaviour does not evolve.

Bioteam Application:

Research shows that if we don't know someone well, which is a risk in virtual relationships, we will find it easier to break commitments to them and are unlikely to put ourselves out on their behalf. Individual Recognition can be implemented in an organisational team by ensuring regular physical meetings as well as virtual ones. Also we need to encourage good one-one virtual conversations that build relationships as well as getting operational tasks done.

In a nutshell

In our organisation teams we can learn from nature and ensure our team members use Species Recognition to avoid freeloaders, Kin Recognition to build strong work-groups and Individual Recognition to ensure mutual co-operation.

Comments (0)| Related (3) |

Print this article


Bioteams Books Reviews

When collaboration goes bad

When collaboration goes bad

Poor organisational intelligence leads to 'coblaboration' instead of collaboration.Harvard Professor, David Perkins, in his latest book, "King Arthur's Round Table : How Collaborative Conversations Create Smart Organizations", discusses the importance of "organisational Intelligence" and "developmental leadership" and how the absence of these leads to coblaboration rather than collaboration in organisational teams.

Buy it now from:

(2) |

continue reading

Click here to check all Bioteams book reviews

Ken's LinkedIn Profile

Follow Ken's Blogs

NASA Widget2_160x40.jpg


Featured Categories

Trending Topics

agility analytics ants autopoiesis bees biomimicry bioteaming bioteams change management collaboration Collaboration collective intelligence community complex systems dashboards digital dashboards ecosystems excel experiential learning flock games high-performing teams HPT innovation leadership learning meetings mobile phones organizational teams penguins pheromones self-managed teams serious games simulators social media Social Networks social networks social software swarm swarm intelligence swarmteams teams teamwork The Networked Enterprise tit for tat VEN videos virtual communities virtual enterprise virtual enterprise networks virtual teams visualization web2.0 wisdom of crowds

Click for more...

Featured Article

Team joining hands

The secret DNA of high-performing virtual teams

Bioteaming – the secret to high-performing, self-organising, virtually networked teams... more

Locations of visitors to this page

Bioteams iphone app
Bioteams android app


Bioteams Lite


Latest Full Articles

Bioteams Assessor - Instantly check how good your team is?
BioScore Calculator – Instantly see if you need Bioteams
Discover Bioteams principles Yourself via Action Learning

Bioteams Manifesto

Communities and Networks Connection

Bioteams Ice-Breaker Zone

Only Fools and Horses Video Clip Funny Team Collaboration Video Dilbert Mission Statement Generator Ali G Video Funny Red Dwarf Video  FatherTed  Pixar

News Feed

Sign up for RSS   RSS Feed Subscription
        (What's RSS?)

10 Most popular posts

Recent posts


Download Browsealoud