Monday, April 01, 2013

Murmurations (A Work-Related Post)

These are fascinating:

I was watching them the other day with my daughter and, as always, my mind drifted to work. So, some thoughts on murmurations as an analogy for a company:

* From inside the murmuration, you can't see the whole picture. You need to have a pretty good understanding of your part, but try as you might, you won't be able to comprehend the whole. You need to be confident that you can rely on those around you and be committed to the whole. You need to know enough about your mission to know whether or not you're aimed in the right direction.

* From outside the murmuration, you can't exactly understand why they're doing what they're doing. If they can't completely comprehend it inside, good luck trying to understand it from the outside as a consultant, vendor or financial analyst.

* These amazing structures are all individual pieces, but they move in unison, able to shift as necessary to changing conditions. Does your organization move in unison, or is it in silos? Are the silos the result of a lack of cohesion or have they been intentionally designed to prevent seismic shifts?

* In some shots of the first video, it looks like there's a larger bird in their midst and they seem to be using their collective efforts to put the bird on the defensive. Are you bringing the full weight of your organization to tackle a problem, or are people distracted and going off in their own direction, oblivious to a major threat in their midst?

* As a whole, you can't tell if someone's out of position, the others around them probably do. Since they're working together, they might even be able to help that person get back into alignment, not as a one-on-one, but as part of a team effort, team communication and collaboration.

* Occasionally, the group breaks apart into smaller groups for specific tasks, but they always rejoin, part of the larger whole. Does you work support the larger whole? Can you fully explain how you or your group's work works towards the objective of the whole?

* There is no obvious leader, but everyone works together. There may be some key leaders spread throughout, but they don't call attention to themselves or aren't afforded an obvious fly-at-the-front-of-the-V position. It might also be that at any time, any one of them could be expected to lead - if not the whole, then at least a smaller squadron for a special task.

* While they appear rapid, these do take time to start and time to stop. Do you take time to stop, regroup and assess your surroundings?

* These are extremely beautiful and awe-inspiring. Can you say the same about your work?
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