Out on my early morning walk recently, I was fascinated to discover a small army of green ants dragging dinner, a piece of a large dead earth worm, up a tree – straight up, vertically – no mean effort.
The first “wow” moment was the size differential between the worm and the ants – the worm was much, much bigger – a herculean task at first sight. Yet it showed that when ants, or people, join together as a team, they can achieve amazing results.
I watched them move it about ½ meter – sometimes they moved to the left more than up. However, they would then correct this – onwards and upwards. Somewhere there was a Leader, bringing them back on track, keeping them energised and motivated.
How often do we think we are all going in the one direction, only to find that we have slipped sideways a little and need to re-focus? With current pressures and constant changes, we must have everyone moving in the one direction, with a team vision and goals.
The ants all appeared to be working hard – both those actively carrying the load and those that were moving around the edges of the load. But, were they all participating at the same level?
The non-load carrying ants sometimes moved towards the worm, as if wanting to assist. Some simply hurried up and down the tree. Maybe some were just dashing about to look busy.
‘Appear busy’ people create a lot of movement, but it may not be in the direction of the team’s goals and therefore is unlikely to contribute to achieving outcomes. This results in other team members carrying a heavier load – creating disharmony and stress.
Clarity of leadership, vision, goals and tasks within your team ensures everyone is moving in the same direction, undertaking their role to the best of their capacity.
Thanks to the ants who have provided us with examples of teamwork – I hope they enjoyed the fruits of their labour.