What teams can learn from spiders

Our old friend the spider gets a lot of bad press. For example he/she has been used as an example of the weakness of centralised leadership models versus so-called "leaderless organisations" in The Starfish and The Spider. However spiders can teach teams, enterprises and networks two very important lessons: Strategic Readiness and Appropriate Response.

Spider Web in Dew

The unflushable power of alert spiders

But first a short story.....

My children hate spiders in the house and hold to the belief that if you just release them into the garden they will return (and in a pretty foul vengeful mood at that).

So the other night when I found a big spider (big in UK terms - tiny, I admit, in other hot countries terms) I confess I attempted to flush it!

I had captured it in an upturned glass with a bit of paper over the bottom of the glass to form a spider prison.

I entered the bathroom and held the glass over the WC bowl.....

Suddenly, like an experienced executioner, I ripped the paper away and looked to see the poor spider floating in the bowl.

But ... no spider in water - spider still in glass....

I start to shake the glass with fast downward movements - still no spider in the water - spider still in the glass - what has gone wrong?

I take a closer look - the spider has spun an instant web from one side of the glass to the other and is clinging on for dear life.

Here are the lessons I learned from my spider:

LESSION 1: Strategic Readiness
The spider was totally ready at the drop of a hat to make a response - this resonates for me with the writings about "Strategy as Strategic Readiness" - be ready to execute but you may not know exactly when you need to. For more on this.

LESSON 2: Appropriate Response
The spider's response was totally appropriate to the threat - how often do we respond in an inept way to a threat or opportunity. Effective Teams know all about swarm responses.

A Happy Ending!

So what happened to my spider - I was so impressed by my spider I quietly put it in the garden.

What if he/she comes back - I don't care - in fact I am looking forward to meeting it again.

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Greet the authors of the site. Want to express thanks for good work.Your article very useful and interesting.

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Organisational teams: thin slice for responsiveness

 Organisational teams: thin slice for responsiveness

Humans and animals do not need complete information to act; they can operate on various clues provided there is a sufficient context. Organizational teams can also use this thin slicing technique in conjunction with short messaging to enhance their performance. Malcolm Gladwell’s introspective book Blink digs deep into the abyss of human cognition to illustrate the human ability to think at a subconscious level. The idea of thin slicing is used where one is introduced to only a few snippets of information which lead to a series of conclusions based on moments of rapid cognition – an ability claimed to be intrinsically dormant in most humans. By bioteams guest author Max Bhanabhai.

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