Byron's Babbles

Less Team & More Living Organism

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Team, Trust by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 29, 2022

Yesterday I was doing some work that I wanted a little noise in the background for so I turned on an old episode of </Scorpion>. The show was about four geniuses teamed up with a government handler and a mother of a young genius son, who solved issues globally. At the end of the episode, of which a theme of teamwork had emerged, it was said, “Maybe we should think less of ourselves as a team and more as an organism [that is living and adapting].” Many times teams operate under the old industrial model like machines. And…machines break down and are unable to adapt. By contrast, living organisms are masters at adaptation. Many times when we think of adaptation, we thing of Charles Darwin. One of the observations of Darwin that Ernst Mayr (1982, 2001) made was that, “Individuals in a population are not identical, they vary in many characteristics.” Adaptation comes from the Latin word adaptus, which means to become fitted, to join, and to adjust.

Here’s why teams need to think, act, and be led more like living organisms than machines:

  1. Organisms can adapt to their environment.
  2. Organisms respond to changes in their environment and continue to be relevant in a changing environment.
  3. Organisms function by keeping homeostasis, or equilibrium, between its many independent actors.
  4. Organisms grow and develop.

Now, go back and replace ‘organism’ with ‘great team’ and you’ll get the point of the post. Wait. I’ll do it for you:

  1. Great teams can adapt to their environment.
  2. Great teams respond to changes in their environment and continue to be relevant in a changing environment.
  3. Great teams function by keeping homeostasis, or equilibrium, between its many independent actors.
  4. Great teams grow and develop, both as individual team members and a whole team.

Get it? As great teams adapt and their members grow and develop, bonds of trust are formed and relationships are built. I’m grateful for the living organism metaphor for a team provided by </Scorpion>.

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