How to spot an ineffective org. values statement - easy - no conflict!
Organisational Values Statements are very popular these days as a way of lining up the people of the organisation behind a set of values which the organisation wishes to aspire to and be known for. However, in many of these statements the one thing which gives them real power has been left on the cutting room floor - conflict!
Key Essays - Back to Home Page
- 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.
- 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
- John Kotters new book: Organisation Biomimicry goes mainstream
I have just purchased John Kotter's new book XLR8 ("Accelerate") which as well as reworking his previous excellent thinking on change introduces two concepts which resonate with my work - The Dual Operating System and The Big Opportunity. Lets briefly look at each of them.
- A free Leadership Development Benefits Estimator Tool
"How do you justify investment in a specific people development activity (e.g. Leadership, Change Management, Learning or Behaviour Change), such as a business simulation game, in a straightforward but credible way"? Here is a simple Excel-based tool which will get you started and which you can easily enhance if you
- Natures Design Guarantees - Bioteams in The Henry Ford Magazine
I am delighted to be able to publish a new Bioteams article in the Summer 2014 edition of The Henry Ford Magazine entitled "Teams in Nature". The article summarises the differences between human teams and natures teams in three critical areas: Communications, Leadership and Scalability.
- 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
- Bioteams: Learning from Nature to improve Project Management
Fabio Padilla from Brazil has written a very interesting review of Bioteams for his MBA thesis at the Universidade Católica de Brasilia - Universa. Fabio has very kindly allowed me to republish a summary of his conclusions which he has translated from the original Portuguese.
- All you ever learned about meetings is wrong
I have been piloting a radically different approach to meetings which I am calling "Egoless Meetings" which addresses three popular unwritten rules about good meeting practices which are unfortunately totally wrong. RULE 1 is that everybody gets to speak. RULE 2 is that discussions in themselves can be useful.
- 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.
- What Ants Can Teach the Enterprise About Teamwork
Congratulations to the Socialcast blog for an excellent summary of Bioteams plus a truly awesome poster "Unlocking the Bioteams formula" which gives a great introduction to bioteams - all in a single picture.
- Leadership, Connectivity, Execution, Organization
Very nice short article by Harold Jarche in his blog "Life in Perpetual Beta" which revisits the 4 key zones of Bioteams: Leadership, Connectivity, Execution, Organization.
- The Lost Secrets of High-Performing Teams
I spoke at the inaugural TEDx event in Belfast on March 23. My argument was that we have all experienced high-performing teams but mostly not at work (sports, music, adventures, holidays, family etc)! In the video The Lost Secrets of High-Performing Teams I remind us of what we may have
- The Bioteaming Manifesto: 6 years old!
This week marks the 6th anniversary of the publication in April 2005 of The Bioteaming Manifesto by ChangeThis. The manifesto is the foundation of the Bioteams book, published March 2008, and is a comprehensive conceptual framework for the effective management of today's Virtual Teams, Multi-Enterprise Teams and Cross-Functional teams. Download
- Teams and Nature: New Video
I have collaborated with Jeff Peel and his Business Evidence Thought-Leadership blog to produce a new 4-minute video on Natural Teams - how we can use simple ideas from nature, sports teams and families to radically improve our work teams.
- The 3 ways great teams make decisions: video clip
I spoke at the inaugural TEDx event in Belfast on March 23 on "The 7 secrets of High-Performing Teams". Here is a link to a nice blog post by Alan in Belfast on the whole Belfast TEDx event with a collection of short video interviews with all the speakers.
- Bioteams: top 3 must-read articles from 2010
#1 The Social Media Healthcheck Reference Card #2 The Seven Secrets of High Performing Teams (AudioCast) #3 Leading collaborative business networks - 10 rules Get all 3 here!
- The 7 Secrets of High-Performing Teams: New Bioteams Video
In this new short audio/video I share 7 secrets on how teams can significantly improve performance by adopting simple techniques from Bioteams. These techniques are particularly relevant to large cross-functional teams and multi-enterprise teams whose members are not co-located and spend much of their working days on the road
- 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
- 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.bioteams.com readers.
- Gartner Research discovers bioteams and swarms
In a press release to promote their upcoming Content and Collaboration Summit 2010 (London, UK, September 15-16) Gartner Research forecast 10 key changes in the nature of work through to 2020 centering around bioteams, swarming and connectivity.
- The Networked Enterprise: NASA Video
In the summer of 2009 I had the privilege of speaking to an audience of NASA scientists and researchers at the NASA Research Centre in Langley, Virginia on the topic of The Networked Enterprise and Bioteams in the context of major engineering and scientific enterprises. NASA have very kindly allowed
- New Bioteams Project Management Video
A short Bioteams video interview has been published by Bas de Baar on Project Shrink where Bas and I discuss some of the most common questions about bioteams projects such as team member alignment and is there a role for a project manager in a bioteam (Yes!).
- The End of Management and the Rise of Bioteams
In his new book, Dot Cloud: The 21st Century Business Platform, Peter Fingar suggests that if we stick with our current pyramid-style designs of our organizations, we will not be able to meet the growing needs of our communities in the high-change global economy and concludes that the discipline of
- Swarms 101: Introduction to swarming by computer and phone
Swarms 101 is a short interactive web-based presentation which introduces the basic concept of a Swarm, the key Swarm characteristics (Open v Closed, Star v Peer...) and how Swarms can be combined into powerful "Swarm Communities" through the ability to exist in mulltiple swarms (as Swarm Owner and/or Swarm Users).
- Animal Leadership: Dictatorship Rules in Baboon Societies
About 18 months ago I listened to Andrew King give a fascinating lecture in London about his unpublished research into Baboon societies. Andrew explained how in the harsh environment of the Namib Desert dictatorship sometimes works better than democracy. Andrew's ground-breaking work has now been widely published and he kindly
- Unique Bioteams Reference Card
A unique reference card for printing on 2-sided A4 (Landscape) which folds into 6 sections - what a "bioteam" is, how to decide if a group needs bioteaming, the 5 bioteams zones with their beliefs/rules, 7 main bioteams techniques, 3 checklists, links to 2 free bioteams tools and links
- Discover Bioteams via Experiential Learning
What is the best way to introduce bioteaming into any organization or network? I recommend an Experiential Learning approach which allows you to evolve your own unique take on bioteaming which takes full advantage of the hidden learning and experiences you and your organization already have about 'natural teams'.
- Bioteams Reference Card
As part of the bioteams practitioners network I plan to develop some content only available to registered members. By popular request the first item will be a unique members-only Bioteams Reference Card. If you would like to have one of these Bioteams reference cards please register your email here.
- Bioteams 101: Introduction to Bioteams Principles
A Bioteam is a team which has a life of its own and requires an alternative model to traditional command and control. The Bioteam concept is introduced in The Bioteaming Manifesto, described in depth in Ken Thompson's book "Bioteams" and discussed daily in The Bioteams Blog.
- Biology and High Performance Teams
Listen to Ken Thompson and Lisa Kimball answer questions on how biological thinking can be used to make teams, networks, communities and groups more effective on a live call hosted by The Plexus Institute.
- Which teams need bioteams: free bioscore calculator
I explained previously how to spot if a team or community or network was a bioteam - a team with a life of its own, where well-established models of team simply do not work. Here is a simple 10 question Group Bioscore Calculator - the higher the "bioscore" the
- Bioteams Practitioners Network: Update
I would just like to thank the many people who expressed their interest so enthusiastically in The Bioteams Practitioners Network and to let everyone know I have their contact details and will arrange a time to talk before the planned launch in the New Year. Also if you missed
- Bioteams Practitioners Network Launched
As a result of many requests I am pleased to announce the formation of a Bioteams Practitioners Network. I am seeking Expressions of Interest from potential network Founder Members.
- The 3 types of Bioteam: Business networks, Fan Communities and Mobile teams
Since publishing the Bioteams book it has become very clear that there are a small number of defining characteristics of a bioteam. For best results you should ensure that bioteams is right for your particular team / group / community challenge. Here is how to check!
- Virtual Teams And The Bioteaming Approach - A Video Interview With Ken Thompson
Robin Good of MasterNewMedia.org has published a short video clip series where he interviews me (Ken Thompson) about the Bioteaming approach to virtual/mobile teams, networks and communities.
- Wired Magazine features Bioteams
Are you smarter than a goose? Sure you are -- one on one. But when it comes to working efficiently, you and your colleagues can't touch the gaggle. According to author Ken Thompson, geese and other animals that naturally form groups have a lot to teach us about business. In
- Implementing Bioteams thru Action Learning
What is the best way to introduce bioteaming into any organization or network? I recommend an Action Learning approach which allows you to evolve your own unique take on bioteaming which takes full advantage of the hidden learning and experiences you and your organization already have about 'natural teams'. Heres
- The Bioteaming Breakthrough for High Performance Teams
To succeed in work environments today, you must be able to work in teams - but they are not your father's teams anymore. Bioteams are the most appropriate ways to think about teams, networks and organizations in today's interconnected world. Nature's teams display four traits that don't naturally seem to
- Bioteams and natures social networks: NLAB Conference
Ken Thompson presented on the topic: "Bioteams: what can we learn from natures social networks" at the NLab Social Networks Conference (19th June 2008) at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.
- 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
- Sports teams and organizational teams: a bioteams crowdbreaker
I have to thank Jo Jordan for the idea behind this excellent little crowdbreaker which introduces the bioteams concepts and shows very quickly in a concrete way that it makes perfect sense when you actually think about it.
- Did ants invent the perfect mobile communications system
Ants interact using a system known as pheromones, involving sending 'chemical messages' to their community through smell and taste. It is also one of the oldest and most sophisticated forms of group communication on the planet with many features today's mobile and virtual teams would die for!
- Bioteams Instant Assessment Tool: Improved Version
I am pleased to announce a new version of the Flash-based Bioteams Instant Team Assessment tool which provides an online snapshot of how much a team is operating like a bioteam. Many Thanks to Jo, Chris and others for their very helpful feedback and suggestions.
- Bioteams: The Next Frontier of Business Process Management
Support for collaboration is the hot discussion in BPM circles these days, and for good reason. It’s the human-to-human interactions of teams that count when it comes to innovation and agility. ... you and everyone you work with must be able to function in and through internal and multi-company teams,
- Online team assessment: free bioteams tool released
I am pleased to announce the release of a new Flash-based Bioteams Instant Team Assessment tool which provides an online snapshot of how much a team is operating like a bioteam by calculating its bioteams footprint across 5 key areas: beliefs, leadership, connectivity, execution and organization.
- Bioteaming is biomimicry of social structures
Janine Benyus, talking at TED, describes biomimicry as learning an idea from an organism and then applying it - the conscious emulation of life's genius. Bioteaming, then, is the biomimicry of social structures- taking ideas from Nature about how groups perform and intra-operate, and applying them to enhance how we
- Video: How do ants know what to do?
Armed with a few students, a backhoe and a handful of markers, Deborah Gordon digs up ant colonies in the Arizona desert. She asks: How do these chitinous creatures get down to business and even multitask when they need to with no language, memory or visible leadership?
- Small Team Collaboration: Seven Key Beliefs To Work As A Great Team
What makes great teams such? Is it just a coincidence that some teams consistently outperform others or is being a high performing team due to specific traits of those who make the team up? Robin Good and Ken Thompson suggest the team's beliefs are the key.
- Team Swarming: are your team wasps or bees
Sometimes the Bee-team is the A-team: the importance of an automatic team swarm response to threats and opportunities.
- The law of requisite variety and team agility
An obvious characteristic of nature's best teams 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 protect their position in the food chain.
- 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.
- Team Transformation Rule 2: Cultivate Team Intelligence
Cultivating Team Intelligence provides organizational teams, networks and communities with a much better early warning 'radar' thus enabling them to spot and deal with problems/opportunities sooner.
- Team transformation rule 1: Stop trying to control them
In this article I suggest that organizational teams, networks and communities who can adapt and adopt the "stop trying to control them" principle exemplified by nature's teams can achieve huge gains in agility and collective intelligence.
- Design better social software using Living Systems Theory
With the explosion in social software and the recognition that these types of systems need to reach critical mass to survive and prosper it is amazing that so few people seem to be applying the well-established philosophical principles of living systems (autopoiesis) to design for sustainability.
- Biological teams live
Much of the foundation of bioteaming is based on the organisation, communications and behavior of social insect societies. The BBC has a wonderful series Life in the Undergrowth narrated by David Attenborough with a whole programme dedicated to Supersocieties and Super-organisms.
- Organizational teams: learning from nature
Ken Thompson, writing for Insider Knowledge Magazine, in Why Penguins have no commanding officer reveals the two fundamental differences between biological teams and organizational teams and what we can learn from nature about effective teamwork.
- Generation-C Teams make natural bioteams
In the ground-breaking book Communities Dominate Brands, Tomi Ahonen and Alan Moore introduce a new generation of technology users: Generation C (C stands for Community). If you have some Gen-Cs on your team you are ideally placed to take advantage of bioteaming principles and here is how you can spot
- Virtual team member autonomy: learn from software agents
Team leaders who want their team members to show more initiative and take greater responsibility can learn from the principles of autonomous software agents so I am delighted to republish a bioteams guest essay on “Agents: Technology and Usage” by James Odell which is attached in full as a pdf.
- Black Sun teams use flocking and scale
During spring in Denmark, just before sunset, flocks of more than a million European Starlings gather from all corners to create an incredible phenomenon known as The Black Sun. The Black Sun principles of flocking and mass collaboration can also be applied to organisational teams.
- The Bioteaming Manifesto
The Bioteaming Manifesto is the definitive summary of the key principles of Bioteaming kindly published by ChangeThis. For a free download of the full (34-page) document please click here
- New Bioteams Video by Robert Scoble
Many Thanks to Robert Scoble of Scoble Show fame for producing a brand new 15 minute video interview on the basics of bioteams and how it can be applied in organisational teams.
- Penguins reveal the true essence of bioteams
Many people have been enchanted by the amazing video “The March of the Penguins” and most know that they have no leader. However few people go on to ask the obvious next question “If they have no leader then how do they know where to go?”....
- Belbin on bioteams
Dr R Meredith Belbin, regarded as the father of "team-role" theory and one of the worlds foremost experts on teams, predicts that our organizational teams will evolve into more biologically inspired forms.
- Organisations are living complex systems claims physicist
Fritjof Capra says organisations are not just like living systems - they are living systems!
- Bioteams: an introduction
How is it that even with our vastly superior intelligence nature's teams sometimes seem to work much better than ours - what do they know that we don't?
- Fact: Biological organisations live longer
One of the most compelling reasons why organisations, enterprises, teams and communities should adopt biological principles is that they will live much longer if they do!
- Mass Collaboration and Virtual Crowds
Could a virtual team have a million members? Recent developments in mass collaboration, distributed computing and the wisdom of crowds suggest the answer might be yes.
- Group Messaging Instincts: how to recover them
Biological teams make extensive use of short messages as their main means of communication: Ants use chemical messages, Bees use visual messages conveyed through dance and Dolphins use sonar, however most human teams seem to have forgotten their Messaging Instincts.
- Ant communications: experience them through a simulator
Ant communications are very different from the communications we typically experience in our organizational teams. In fact they are so different that to really understand them you have to try and find some way to experience them. Here is one way!
- Human swarming: the mexican wave
Those who don’t believe that humans can swarm and flock must not have been watching the World Cup in Germany. The Mexican Wave, or La Ola, is a spontaneous activity involving very simple individual behaviors which produces an amazing collective result.
- Bioteams blogged live
Many thanks to Nancy White for her excellent and very comprehensive live blog on Bioteaming: Natural Models for Virtual Teams from the very recent Collaborative Tools Conference (CTC2006) in Boston.
- Bioteaming: Natural Models for Virtual Teams
I presented Bioteaming: Natural Models for Virtual Teams at the Collaborative Tools Conference (CTC2006) at the Seaport Hotel in Boston, MA, on June 22. We discussed what nature's teams might teach us about messaging, swarming, networking and personal collaboration strategies.
- Nature's best cooperation strategy revealed
Two collaboration strategies, Tit-For-Tat (TFT) and Win-Stay,Lose-Shift (WSLS), out-perform all others in evolution. In a live webstream from the Royal Society in London Professor Martin Nowak of Harvard University explains why.
- My best bioteam articles
Here is a collection of the 4 most popular bioteaming articles based on user feedback and page views.
- Cooperation not competition underpins evolution
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!
- Self organization in natures teams
Richard Conniff in his excellent paper, The limits of the alpha male, gives an excellent introduction to self-organizing behaviour in flocks of birds, termites, red deer, whooper swans and gorillas.
- The six key processes in a biological team
In traditional organisational teams we have processes like selection, mobilisation, planning, operations and dissolution. Bioteams have a totally different set of natural processes: Foraging, Co-Evolution, Reproduction, Nurture, Maintenance and Metabolism.
- How symbiotic is your collaboration
Symbiosis is a central tenet of bioteams which in bioteams means you should 'partner date' widely but commit to partners very carefully. But according to wikipedia there are four different types of symbiotic behavior possible between two different biological species.
- Team communication patterns: key lessons from nature
From studying nature's bioteams it seems there are 3 dominant patterns of communication which can be used in a biological group. All three also have their place in the electronic communications we use in our human teams. However one of them, if over-used, can be destructive or indicate the absence
- Recovering team and group Messaging Instincts
My research into biological teams has revealed that they make extensive use of short messages as their primary means of communications. For example, Ants use chemical messages, Bees use visual messages conveyed through dance and Dolphins use sonar: unlike human teams they all exhibit strong Messaging Instincts.
- Top teams know how to swarm
In a previous article, Seven 'model behaviours' for bioteam members, I discussed the work of Craig Reynolds and the three critical autonomous behaviours which enable birds to flock. Here I propose that human bioteam members need just seven autonomous behaviours to enable them to swarm.
- The social networks of virtual teams
Bioteams pay as much attention to their weak ties: the collective external networks of relationships and their connections to the wider organisation and environment as their strong ties: their internal team structures.
- Enhance team performance by consistent individual behavior
A key principle of bioteams is team member self-management. Nature's teams achieve this through a surprisingly small number of simple rules which operate at the individual member level and result in sophisticated team behaviour. For example, complex 'bird flocking' behaviour can be simulated on a computer using just three rules.
- Biological ecosystems: what business teams must learn
When a new enterprise enters its market it must quickly find a viable niche in its business ecosystem or it will not survive. Similarly for cross-functional teams in major organisations : if the team does not find a value niche in that organisation's overall ecosystem then it will not deliver
- Bioteams: an introduction
Almost all of us have been part of some team in our workforce or organisation or even a sports club. Usually this is a mixed experience - we have some victories but lots of failures too. A lot of people from the technology world, myself included, hoped that all the
- New research on beliefs of High Performing Teams
We have completed a short research project into the beliefs of three High Performing Teams (HPTs) in a large software organisation. Our research indicated that four beliefs were universally held: clear and public accountability, trusted competency, give and take and outcome optimism. Five other beliefs were largely or partially held
- Team adaptability secrets: the law of requisite variety
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
- A critical test of collaboration: the 3 greens check
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.
- Bioteams Rule 2: Team Intelligence
Instead of issuing orders, nature's teams such as ants, geese, dophins, jellyfish and microscopic life forms, function by providing timely information to the team members and then allowing and expecting them to take the appropriate action. Curiously, this information is not provided by the Queen nor a leadership group but
- Teamwork: learning from dolphin pods
The seven habits of highly effective dolphins. According to a excellent site dedicated to Dolphins at Western Illinois University (Illinois) Dolphin social behavior is one of the most complex and advanced in the animal kingdom and offers us a number of insights into effective bioteaming.
- Natures four teamwork systems
What is Teamwork? Although there are many different definitions, in nature the definition of 'teamwork' is very precise. There are four different types of "teamwork" in biological teams: Solowork, Crowdwork, Groupwork and Teamwork itself. A bioteam knows how and when to use all four forms - the choice depends on
- The perfect mobile group communications system: adopt nature’s oldest signalling system
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
- The definitive guide to bioteams
New bioteaming manifesto published I am delighted to announce that, in collaboration with my colleague Robin Good, and the very kind support of ChangeThis whose mission is "to spread important ideas and change minds" we are launching "The Bioteaming Manifesto - A new paradigm for virtual, networked business teams".
- The seven beliefs of high performing teams
Beliefs are the fuel which can really energise bioteams There is one, often neglected area, which a team needs to address as part of a bioteaming strategy if it wants to be exceptionally successful - team member beliefs.
- A new bioteams manifesto?
Its now six months since Robin Good and I published our first bioteams manifesto.A lot has happened since then and we feel it may now be a good time to publish a new version of the manifesto and to circulate the bioteaming ideas to a wider audience using changethis as
- The secret DNA of high-performing virtual teams
Bioteaming – the secret to high-performing, self-organising, virtually networked teams In my research into bioteaming I have (so far) identified four action zones and about a dozen action rules.This article provides a brief introduction.
- Virtual team organisation and three action rules from nature
Bioteams are sustainable self-organising systems
- Virtual team execution: three action rules from nature
Natures teams are exceptionally good at taking action, co-operating and learning In this article I will introduce a third overarching principle of Bioteams: Bioteams are exceptionally good at taking action, co-operating and learning. I will then introduce the third triad of supporting action rules (rules 7, 8 and 9).
- 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.
- Virtual team connectivity - three action rules from nature
Bioteams are highly connected virtual networks In this article I will introduce the second overarching principle of Bioteams, "Bioteams are highly connected virtual networks", and describe the second triad of supporting action rules (rules 4, 5 and 6).
- Virtual team productivity - three action rules from nature
In this article I introduce and identify the fundamental key overarching principle of Bioteams and define the first three action rules that can enable existing "Virtually Networked Teams" to start integrating Bioteaming full potential. By Ken Thompson and Robin Good.
- Virtual Teams - a new paradigm from nature
Bioteaming:Why virtual teams need more than internet technology to succeed.
- Virtual teams, biomimicry and biomimetrics
Learning from mother nature's designs becomes scientific mainstream A new scientific discipline biomimicry (also known as biomimetrics) is gaining a lot of attention. Defined as "taking ideas from nature and implementing them in another technology such as engineering, design, computing, etc."
- History of the Bioteams logo
Dr Humberto Maturana and Dr Franciso Varela, 2 Chilean biologist/neuroscientists, in their ground-breaking book "The Tree of Knowledge - The Biological Roots of Human Understanding"  illustrated their concept of a living system with a little graphical symbol. I have taken the symbol and adapted it and turned it on
- The Lifecycle of a Bioteam
How bioteams are born, grow, reproduce, decline... and die!.I would like to use the Ant Colony to introduce and illustrate a general model for the lifecycle of a bioteam. Whilst Ant colonies vary greatly in their social structure, they all share four basic stages in their development and life. Like
- Bioteams Glossary
Here is a number of terms definitions that relate to bioteaming and virtual teams.
- A Design Framework for Bioteams
The Trinity of all Living Systems - A Design Framework for Bioteams. Dr Humberto Maturana and Dr Franciso Varela, 2 Chilean biologist/neuroscientists, in their ground-breaking book "The Tree of Knowledge - The Biological Roots of Human Understanding"  suggest a simple but profound model, represented graphically below, which wonderfully
- Bioteaming: A Manifesto For Networked Business Teams
A Conceptual Framework For The Successful Management Of Physically Distributed Collaborative Business Networks And Highly Mobile Virtual Teams By Ken Thompson and Robin Good
How good is your team? Try the Team Pressure Cooker Exercise!
Sometimes teams can become quite blind towards some very obvious improvements to their performance. There may be huge elephants in the team room which have somehow become camouflaged. Here is a short team exercise to quickly highlight big improvement opportunities by putting the team into an imaginary pressure cooker.
How good a team leader are you? Try my Team Leadership Assessment!
As a team leader you have two distinct leadership responsibilities - Managing the Individuals and Managing the Team. Leaders who fixate on managing the individuals tend to have happy teams which unfortunately under-perform in terms of deadlines, quality, customer satisfaction and budgets! Leaders who obsess on managing the team may hit most of these targets but at the expense of team member Alienation, Burnout, Compliance, Disinterest and eventually Exiting (easy to remember - ABCDE!). Great Team Leaders manage both responsibilities. Here is a simple framework with a nice supporting spreadsheet to help you assess and improve your leadership:
Free questionnaire and software to analyse any team's beliefs versus HPTs
I have written quite a lot about the importance of a team's beliefs on their performance and have published some modest research into the beliefs which differentiate 'high performing' teams from other teams. Until today I have not published the questionnaire which underpinned this research. I am now making this questionnaire available here and also, on request, a free spreadsheet tool to help you 'number crunch' and analyse the results from using the beliefs questionnaire with your own teams.
Free High Performing Teams Instant Healthcheck Tool Spreadsheet
An important free tool which I provide with my new book 'A Systematic Guide to High Performing Teams' is a Team Process Health Check Spreadsheet written in Microsoft Excel. The spreadsheet allows you to rapidly assess each of 16 important team process elements on a scale of 0-3 ranging from 'totally absent' to 'present and effective'.
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 'naïve collaboration' which many teams seem to go through - Hyper-Communication and Over-Delegation.
The Importance of Team Game Plans and RAPPORT
Team Game Plans are essential when your team is faced with a new and challenging task, such as a business simulation game. To formulate a Game Plan the team must quickly look at their goals and targets and then, based on a shared set of priorities, values, mental models and working practices, come up with a plan for achieving them.
The word 'RAPPORT' is an excellent mnemonic for remembering the 7 key elements of a great Team Game Plan as RAPPORT is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as: 'A close and harmonious relationship in which the groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.'
So to have RAPPORT in your team you need to quickly agree your team's: