Posts Tagged ‘Bioteams’

In a world all hot and panting over organizational team work and collaboration, no team works better than fictional character Danny Ocean’s and his merry band of thieves in Ocean’s 11 Ocean’s13.

10 essential elements of a Danny Ocean team:

  1. Charismatic leader: Danny Ocean demonstrates commitment, inspiration and a proven record for getting the job done.
  2. First follower: Brad Pitt’s, Rusty Ryan.  Danny and Ryan are the core leaders and management team.
  3. Funding: In this case a venture capitalist  (Reuben Tishkoff) with an emotional reason for the venture. Revenge in this case. Funding source should be willing to take the risk with you.
  4. Recruiting the team:  Hopefully you built strong, trusted relationships. Choose your team with 3 main concerns in mind: availability, ability and trustworthiness. The latter is crucial as we’ve all seen how often after a heist the thieves kill or outsmart each other for the entire loot.
  5. The plan: A precise, ultra-detailed second by second plan. Have several versions, including plans B to D…maybe all the way to M. Movie thieves are so meticulous!
  6. The surveillance: Know everything your competition is doing until you can predict your target’s moves.
  7. Adaptability: be able and willing to change the plan within minutes and begin retraining, obtaining the resources within hours.
  8. Spontaneous: ability to think quickly on your feet, under extreme stress, including when your wife shows up unexpectedly with another man.
  9. Instant Communication between members: Another can’t do without element. Like a Bioteam Danny’s group can update and adapt to second by second input and feedback loops.
  10. Make it look easy.

Art and fiction can teach us much more than we give it credit for.  After all life does imitate art more than we care to admit.


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Hootsuite, Ping.fm, bit.ly, tweetdeck, twitter, ning, linkedin, Facebook…..are you keeping up ?

I remember when taking all my vitamins was the most important thing to do every morning. It’s been only weeks since I made a commitment to blog everyday and start using all the social media platforms. Now I wake up to a torrent of tweets: 61 tweets, then 39 tweets, then 43 tweets…..in 1hour! The on to the blogs, blogs, blogs ad infinitum, to read, to make comments on, and then replies to 200+ emails!

It’s exhilarating to read about and meet hundreds of amazingly talented people. Although I can’t deny that some are just utterly crazy.

I can truly sympathize with anyone reading this and wondering if it’s all worth the time and effort? Many of us prefer to what is more commonly known as “lurking” in the background.  Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  But in the world of social media, we’re valued and evaluated by how much we’re contributing and participating in conversations. The most interesting aspect is that you don’t even need to make remarkably original contributions.  Many simply recycle everyone else’s content.

Some of the most industrious “recyclers” are busy “retweeting” up a storm on twitter.  They’re more like a AP mini-wire service of streaming content.  Up to 20 tweets in an hour of links to articles, blogs, videos….and highly subjective personal opinions.

These career “retweeters” are an enormous help in orienting myself during the morning on what’s going on, who’s saying what, where and when the next event or webinar is taking place. All of which was at one time the realm of traditional media. That reminds me of Ken Thompson’s Bioteams’ ants exchanging tiny bits of information at rapid speed for the good of the colony.  Oh, and as I wrote that, a tiny ant appeared on my monitor screen.  I wonder what it is thinking as it scurries along this screen about a million times bigger than itself.  Maybe it thinks the cursor is a predator.  Maybe it thinks it’s in an ant version of Cowboy stadium.

I feel as tiny as that ant every time I’m in the world of social media.  But like that tiny ant, I also have a billion fellow ants in the colony, all cooperating and collaborating freely – and some lurking!

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Check out this video interview between Bas De Baar and Bioteams author Ken Thompson.

I took some broad notes from the video so you have some idea about its relevance to our conversations about VLOs and the future of law firms.

The main question and issue Ken found in leading teams was the command and control model (military) versus nature’s collective leadership model.  In nature everybody is a leader.

Ken adds that there is a conceptual line in these teams:

On the left side the team is playing for collective success. On the right side it is playing to avoid individual blame.  Ken states that bioteams (ants and bees) don’t cross that line. Everyone looks out for everyone else.  Another characteristic is that anyone that has useful information shares it with the whole team.  Ken learned from ants and bees, and his experience with teams, that short messages are better than a long message.  Lots of short messages are better than one big long message that can be misunderstood.  Emails was used as an example.  In bioteams, the most important messages to share is if there is a threat and is there an opportunity?

Bas de Baar: How do people work toward same goal in bioteams?

Ken:  Very important to have a shared belief systems in which all point in the same direction and passionate about something.  Also appropriate behaviours are sharing useful information with other team members immediately.

As for leaders, each person is a leader in a different domain.

Bas De Baar: But then how does leadership get distributed to the right people?

Ken: through facilitated self-organization. What Ken calls the concept of “team karma” or you get out of life what you put into it. In networks, Ken says, people want to get stuff out, but not put anything in.

In a bioteam or distributed leadership team everyone has to assume responsibility for a role, whether to lead a project or follow.

This conversation sounds very much like what we observe in Trump’s show: The Apprentice.

I am convinced that SSFs can best succeed and compete if they can learn to wok in these types of project teams.  That’s why I started OBA.

What do you think?

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