Business Lessons from Ants
My family recently moved to Southern California. I knew there would be surprises waiting for us, but I didn't know I would wake up to 10,000 ants crawling all over my clothes, dishes, and husband. I looked in horror as they made their way up toward my toothbrush. They created long dark lines streaming toward their various destinations.
After calling pest control, we learned that empty houses were often invaded by ants in that part of the country. The pest control guy searched for where they came from and would squirt poison on their trails. Apparently ants are not able to tell what poison tastes like and would take the poison back to the queen ants, spreading it to everyone in their community without anyone knowing.
The next morning I woke and carefully made it over to the crock pot filled with leftover food. Perfect bait for the ants. Amazingly, the pot was empty of ants, where only the day before it had been swarming with black. By targeting the working bees in a very tight community, we were able to take out the whole society.
It almost makes you think that having a tight knit community isn't such a good idea.
The Silent Influence
The same day I had pest control over, one of my good friends called me. She was excited. She had visited the office of a person in the speaking industry who is rocking when many in his business are floundering. She toured his office, and he was kind enough to peel back the secrets of his success. His schedule happens to be completely booked for an entire year.
The secret to his success? Drum roll. His tight knit community. Each person in his office knows what is expected of him/her and they slip into the line of a conforming community or else they are quickly fired. He keeps checklists with "to dos" all the way down to how often the refrigerator needs wiping. He established a system that he knew was working and then honored that system and made sure it flowed into the next system. He simplified everything, and his team knew what was expected of each one of them. He also made sure that what they did was viewed as a team endeavor by rewarding everyone as a team for the successes. He did everything to make sure his employees felt like they were "in it together."
As I thought about the ants being taken out because of their tight community, and the successful speaker succeeding because of his tight community, I couldn't help conclude that our tight communities have a powerful influence. Sometimes it only takes small things, like doing your job and having a positive influence on the whole. But just as the positive has a powerful effect, so does the negative. The silent influence of poison took out thousands and thousands of ants overnight. What would a silent influence of poison do to your business? How fast would you feel the impact?
Certainly the small little things make a huge difference. If you choose to do business like ants, which create a community that works together and is in unison, all working in harmony, beware of the silent but deadly poisons that can take out your whole community.
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