Falcons, ants and management

Managers can learn a lot from Mother Nature, particularly the animal world.

Consider, for instance, falcons and ants.

The first is a bird of prey who flies at high speed and has a general ability to quickly change direction. According to Wikipedia, as far as falcons go, "the visual acuity of one species has been measured at 2.6 times that of a normal human." They have exceptional sight and typically fly alone.

Ants are different. They operate as a disciplined and unified entity, always focused on supporting the colony. They forage in groups and develop complex learning processes. They're social by nature.

Basically, we're talking about two very different world views.

The falcon depends on a broad bird's-eye view. It focuses on expanding its line of sight. The drive is to constantly know what's far ahead or down below.

The ant depends on a detail-focused collective process. It doesn't focus on expanding a line of sight, but rather on contracting effort to accomplish something. The drive is to make sure the work gets done right there, right then.

The falcon is a visionary. The ant is a maker.

The first helps guide the path to what the guys at Undercurrent call a company's responsive operating system.

The second helps to make sure the system works properly.

Alone, falcons and ants look so different. Together, they might make the best teams.