Almost a year ago we embarked on a rather fun and unique adventure that resulted in this week’s arrival of Survival of the Hive: 7 Leadership Lessons from a Beehive. The book was written to address the current lack of great, selfless leadership within organizations and the changing paradigm that is needed in leadership in order to embrace a new, highly collaborative, highly efficient workplace.
The adventure actually started three years ago when Deb became a beekeeper. Inspired by the activities she witnessed firsthand in her beehives, Deb began to see where the efforts of the beehive closely aligned with the efforts organizations make every day. As we worked with global leaders we began to see where important “lessons learned” from the dynamic culture of a beehive could be applied to the culture of an organization.
Knowing Deb had begun beekeeping and was continually bringing up the correlation between honey bees and a well-run organization, Matt encouraged her to put some ideas down on paper. One day in our Weekly Action Meeting, Deb said, “It’s all about survival of their hive. Their work is so focused, selfless and effective because their primary goal is about survival. It’s survival of the hive first; everything, including individual bees, comes second.”
With that clarity, we planned a trip to Cape Cod in the summer of 2012 (well, if you’re going to write a book, what better place than near the ocean to write the book together!). During that August trip, we hunkered down in a double bed hotel room– waking up at 7 and writing for 4-6 hours at a time, then taking long walks, grabbing a coffee, and visiting the beach to discuss the storyline more. Then, as with any good writers, we went back to the writing process for 4-6 more hours, breaking for food, back to writing, etc.
The initial manuscript took about a week to write. The hotel room was littered with print outs, bee books, flip chart paper focusing on plot development, character development, and emerging themes. After returning from the Cape, we had some of our close leadership friends and family review the draft manuscript and add additional insight, questions, etc. which helped strengthen the structure and vision of the book. One main insight that emerged was the need for some levity, humor and imagery to help tie the book’s concepts together. We went about commissioning a couple of artists to come up with a bee/hive image theme that would continue throughout the book. Despite several versions, the images didn’t connect ideas and give the book the modern, light and provocative feel we were wanting. On a whim, Matt connected with his college friend from Oneonta, Paul Miraglia, and had him do a couple of mock images. We loved what we saw. Paul was able to bring humor and a “far-side-like” look to the images in the book. We thought this would give the bees a very human-like quality that could connect readers with the main characters and the leadership themes that the book was discussing. The readers might even chuckle at some of the bees doing work-related tasks (answering phones, driving a crane, punching into a time clock, etc.).
Throughout the fall and into the winter, we went back and forth with publishers, finally deciding on AuthorHouse Publishing and since then have put together a dynamic team and brand-centered experts to get Survival of the Hive into the hands of leaders who are looking for a fresh way to have a conversation about leadership. Survival of the Hive harnesses the essentials of the new leadership paradigm needed in organizations by examining 7 valuable leadership lessons demonstrated by world’s most industrious and successful creatures, the honey bee.
Within the next couple weeks we are going to focus NDCBlogger on new leadership conversations from the book. We encourage you to pick up a copy by visiting www.survivalofthehive.com, let us know what you think and join our community of active and engaged leaders.