Channel your inner bee

February 13, 2020

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"We're all 90% chimp and 10% bee."

This famous quote, coined by Jonathan Haidt, really speaks to the importance of company culture and purpose. Jonathan has researched extensively about how our species (humans, just to be clear) continues to evolve from our individualistic primate ancestors to deeply cooperative human beings and said:

 'Chimpanzees, in particular, are very good at competing with each other, but not so good at working together as a team. They can be kind, they can show sympathy, but scientists can always explain those traits in terms of how the behaviour benefits the individual chimp or its kin. Like chimps, we humans were shaped by individual-level forces'.

By contrast, bees are the ultimate 'team players' – one for all, and all for one … 'evolved to bind together for the good of the hive.' 

When a deep connection happens with people, purpose and shared values, great things happen! 

For us to really feel vested in our employer's business, shouldn't we need to feel we share the same purpose and values of the company? Yes, having the right level of reward and career opportunities is fundamental, but why is it any different to the friends we choose and the communities we choose to be involved with? 

Our employer is another community, and we all belong to a 'work family'. If our own beliefs are at odds with theirs, how can we possibly put all of ourselves and our full commitment behind our job?

Getting people to live shared values every day is tough.

For HIVE360, we're still on our journey of living our values every day, but we're making a real commitment to it, and everyone feels part of the experience.

 

So, here's our approach and top tips for making values work to build a compelling culture: 

 

Take a moment to test the 'temperature' of your team right now

We did a quick survey of the whole team – what they loved about working at HIVE and where they felt we could improve, what values were important to them in their job and what they felt HIVE stood for.

The results were fascinating – and surprisingly similar!

 

Remove the hierarchy and collaborate

We split the whole company into teams – with people from all areas of the business at all levels together to brainstorm and present their thoughts to the rest of us, when we reconvened.

 

Encourage everyone to have a voice

Everyone was invited to take a lead role in developing their team's feedback, even the most timid and quietest team players took the bull by the horns and stood in front of everyone and presented their team's results – with great passion! So we celebrate that here at HIVE360.

 

Make it fun

Allowing each team to present their own style of value system encouraged creativity, and getting everyone to name their team lead to some funny shared moments! Cakes and cookies helped to feed the creative mind too.

 

Keep the conversation going

We don't see this as a project that we tick off and file as complete. We're making this an initiative that will grow and develop into many more team brainstorming sessions and will spur many different initiatives that we will encourage the team to get involved with.

 

Check-in and test progress

We intend to run a similar temperature gauge survey at various intervals throughout the year to measure how we're doing and to be agile to changes emerging from the team, from our clients and the wider environment, that we need to adapt to – to remain relevant and engaging.

 

Above all else, make the process fun, make it real and make it happen.

 

*Quote by Jonathan Haidt, Psychologist from University of Virginia

Haidt believes Humans have evolved from being driven by self-interest to being team players who want their lives to count for something.

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