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5 Reasons “Survival of the Hive” is a Must-Read, Summer Book for Today’s Leaders

Cup-of-Tea-Reading-SOTHSurvival of the Hive is a small, 100-page leadership book in the genre of Who Moved My Cheese and Our Iceberg is Melting that’s colorful, bright and easy enough to read in 2 hours.  However, it packs enough leadership “punch” to drive revitalization of an entire organization’s leadership strategy.

There are 5 main reasons we wrote the book, much of it is based on 28 years of being in the trenches with leaders from diverse organizations, as well as new trends that we see emerging:

1.  Our multi-generational, multi-cultural workforce is looking for a new leadership paradigm where they are encouraged to be engaged, accountable and committed. 

The classic top-down, command-and-control leadership model will not work with the new workforce.  They want to be involved, making a meaningful contribution and have no intention of waiting around to make that happen.  If leaders cannot adapt to a more “colony culture” – like a beehive – they will not be able to retain the crucial talent they need to survive.

2.  Today’s leaders want to know how to create a different work environment; one where people are motivated to do their best and look to their leaders as models to emulate.

One of the chapters in Survival of the Hive speaks to the P-Factors of leadership.  A queen bee is instinctively endowed with these factors – footprint, resourcing, calming and unity – through a system of pheromones.  We call it the P-Factors.  Today’s leaders must learn these attributes in order to manage the turmoil of constant change.  Leaders often find themselves needing to justify cutbacks just when they truly need to be negotiating for more resources.  A queen bee is expert at resourcing her hive – building it from a single “super” with a few thousand bees to a thriving production floor with tens of thousands of bees in just a few months.  It’s all for survival and she lets nothing deter her from that mission.

3.  The beehive colony culture is a unique environment that produces a perfect product; expands greatly in just a few months, shares roles and responsibilities without a single protest, and processes pounds of nectar into honey without ever harming a single flower.  Certainly, there are lessons to be learned for today’s leaders from such an amazing collaborative society.

One of the amazing lessons from a beehive to see how quickly and efficiently they distribute the workload.  If you are familiar with the way a beehive is structured – one frame on top of another – at the bottom of the hive, it creates a type of “front porch.”  The bees go in and out of the hive through the front porch, with the forager bees quickly dropping off their collected nectar and pollen to bees waiting on the inside to process it into honey.  Honey is a perfect product that contains all we need for survival including water.  Every closed cap of honey in the beehive contains exactly 17% water.  The honey is so perfect it needs no additional processing or purification.  Every bee understands their purpose or mission.  We suggest that they achieve their success by using what we call the CAMP approach:  competency, autonomy, meaningfulness and progress.  The same is true for today’s employees – they want the same thing.

4.  The queen bee is equipped instinctively with key attributes that make her an amazing leader whose choices are driven by her commitment to the survival of the hive.  Organizational leaders can learn these attributes to guarantee the survival of their own organizations.

One of a queen bee’s attributes is what we call the Footprint P-Factor.  As the queen moves over the hive laying eggs she leaves a footprint pheromone that lets the hive know that she is alive, well and fulfilling her role.  Leaders also leave a footprint in their organizations.  Some are small and never really get out and move among people in their organizations; others are engaged totally with their workforces.  We ask leaders to contemplate the depth and breadth of their own footprint and the messages that it leaves behind.

5.  Think about these words – honeycomb structure, the bee-2-bee waggle dance, the front porch philosophy, the BUZZ of grassroots communication, the leadership P-Factors – all lessons from a beehive that will build more effective leaders in your organization.

Bees dance to signal how far the pollen or nectar is away from the hive and the directions.  We suggest that leaders in fact have a Waggle Dance themselves, a metaphor for the type of communication they engage in.  Some “waggle” only a little bit and only to a select group of other senior leaders; others are so good at their “waggle dance” that they actually create a BUZZ – just like what you hear in a beehive.

Throughout the book, the hive provides a working illustration of cultural complexity, leadership clarity, and the importance of trust as a foundation for excellence. Included in each chapter are Reflections for Today’s Leaders as well as Group Discussion Questions to help facilitate a survival of the hive philosophy within your own organization.

Command-Post-(final)What are some next steps for you:

1.  Pick up a copy of the book at

2.  Become part of the SOTH community by visiting our website, liking our Facebook page, signing up for our e-newsletter: The BUZZ, and following us on Twitter.  We’re exploring many different avenues including blogging, a radio show, video chats, etc. where we can continue this conversation around the new paradigm of leadership.

3.  With our background in training and coaching we are quickly rolling out workshops based off the book.  Contact us today to be included in the premier pricing (and savings) associated with new workshops:

Presentations (1hr-2hr)

  • 7 New Leadership Lessons from a Beehive

Workshops (1/2 day)

  • Motivating and Retaining New Leaders: The CAMP Method of Motivation
  • Defining Our Front Porch Philosophy: Building Accountability within Your Leaders
  • Getting Along with Your Co-Worker: Building the Colony Culture
  • 5 Factors to Create Your Survival of the Hive Leadership Presence

Leadership Retreat

  • Creating a Survival of the Hive Leadership Culture for 2013-2014

Give us a call today (800.730.3631) as we are now booking into the summer and fall.

Through this journey, we’ve become so committed to seeing excellence in leadership and throughout every hive.  We hope you join us in the commitment.

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An innovative training and employee development firm located in southern Vermont since 1984, we specialize in helping organizations get the most out of their people by raising the bar, inspiring potential and partnering with organizations to build a people-centered, high-engagement culture.

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