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Jez's Notebook | November, 2018 Archive

What Honeybees Taught Me About Leadership

If you’d have told me a decade ago that the secret to a successful, thriving and happy, well-balanced business lies in nature, I very much doubt I’d have believed you. Despite growing up in the countryside and loving nature with almost all my heart, I never thought that there could have been significant lessons of worth or value for humans in, for example, the work and life of the honeybee – let alone something that could be applied to leadership for the better of an organisation.

For the past 13 years I’ve worked as a keynote speaker at conferences and Behaviour Insight Advisor for businesses in all manner of sectors, from pharmaceutical to engineering and from defence to finance; small businesses and global outfits and with everyone from board level senior leadership to sales teams and even entire conferences where the maintenance and cleaning staff were a part of the message delivery.

In that time I’ve delivered training workshops, consultancy programs and shorter presentations to help leaders (“managers” don’t exist in my book; the definition is “to cope”, which isn’t a great start for inspiring those in your charge) develop cultures to make workplaces happier, more efficient and more effective.

When we bought the dilapidated small farm and set out on a journey to become honeybee farmers to assist in reversing the decline of the bee in Britain, I was vicariously afforded the privilege of observing these remarkable insects and rewarded with an insight into what prevents 80,000 honeybees, living in such close proximity (literally back to back) from