Team Building Harare, Zimbabwe

SIZE DOESN’T MATTER, TEAMWORK DOES

The work ethic of ants is forever amazing. It is worth emulation. The most fascinating thing is the size of this creature, being so small, the great accomplishments cannot be ignored. Even the wisest of man, King Solomon, could only stand in awe and he admonished the sluggard to visit the ant and pick some wisdom. No one would deny that ants are in a class of their own in the order in which they execute their mandate. Their secret lies in taking advantage of teamwork. A single ant will never achieve much but when you bring them together and a work of great art is brought to life.

Ants live in colonies of several thousands. Greater part of the ants that are seen are female workers. Each colony has a queen whose sole duty is to lay eggs that ensures the continuity of the family. There are few male ants called drones who emerge from the colony once for the sole purpose of mating with the queen, dying after about two weeks of mating. More than ten thousand species of ants exists in the world, notably in the tropics even though, like humans, ants are found in almost every habitat worldwide.

The colony is categorized into a number of compartments that point to the level of order exhibited by these small insects. The inside of the colony is sparkling clean. Alongside the beehive, the ant colony is regarded as one of the cleanest environments on earth. No dirt or dead ants are found in the colony.

The level of orderliness in the colony comes from the commitment they have of working as a team. The queen lays the eggs. Drones mate with the queen. Guard ants are forever working as a formidable army in protecting the colony. Nurse ants take care of the queen and feed the young ones. The foragers go out in large numbers to search for food. When the foragers identify a food source, they quickly convey the new find to their colleagues using a specialized language of invisible scent called pheromones. Inside the nest, the undertakers make sure every dead ant is disposed and all the dirt is cleared from the home.

The order of the ants goes to prove how these small insects are somehow more organized than the humans. There is a lot that we can learn from the ants, notably with respect to teamwork.

Ants are not intimidated by the size of their workload. They never shy away from objects larger than their own sizes.  They are fully convinced that as long as their colleagues are present, they will achieve anything. There is nothing that stands on the path of an army of ants that are committed to achieve a certain objective.

Antsshow us that it’s not a matter of size but with the harnessing of the exceptional capacities into one formidable team, great results will be accomplished. One is too small a number to achieve great things. Almost everything before us points to the power of teamwork. The mighty ocean is only but tiny raindrops that have joined forces to become the mass of water. Individual brilliance and greatness only come to life as a result of the contributions of many individuals who might not be gracing the limelight.

The power of teamwork

No man is an island. The wise king would say; “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastice 4 vs 9-12)

Great organisations are a product of effective work teams within their structures. Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Corporation in June 1903 but the ability to churn out new models every year is a result of teamwork. Even though Henry died in 1947, the legacy of teamwork is what has sustained the organization he founded thus far. Steve Jobs was a great inventor, with the products he helped invent making an impact in the world because of a team of committed workers who contribute in making the dream work. Even though Steve Jobs passed on in 2011, his legacy lives on courtesy of the great team that is committed to add value to the world in line with what the founder envisaged. Teams that work together produce great results together.

The diversity of talents and skills in a team generates great ideas, which, if an individual is working alone, will never be realized.  The way each teammate views the world is different, making it easy to bring to the table a different viewpoint. Each one would be different by virtue of their background, age, gender, educational standing, religion etc.  Each team is so unique because of the different combinations of personalities and experiences.  An individual standing alone will never bring to life the multiplicity of ideas and solutions.

When a problem arises before a team, it is easier for the members to brainstorm and readily come up with a solution. It is through the contributions made that some eureka moment can be reached. One person’s contribution can act as an igniter of a solution from another, making the power of teamwork a marvel in bringing to life great results, which were never anticipated beforehand.

Creativity and innovation are birthed through interactions between team members. “If I have been able to see further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of Giants” (Isaac Newton).  Isaac Newton was a great physicist but he still acknowledged how he relied and depended on others for the great contribution he made to civilization.

The quality of work is enhanced through teamwork. No one can be excellent in everything but if they are placed in their area of greatest strength, the best of results are obtained.  It is when each player is placed in the area of their passion and talent that excellence for the team is realized. In a football team, there is a player assigned as a goal keeper and they do everything to improve their goal keeping skills. Another is a striker and their attention and orientation is towards scoring goals. At the end of the day, such a team achieves the best results.

As the members of the team jell together and pull in the same direction, results start to show. With greater results, come increased morale. Morale breeds better results as the team gets inspired to contribute more than before. A sense of achievement cascades through the team. The eagerness to learn and improve one’s skill and performance is likewise ignited.  Continuous development of skills at a personal level brings with it a new wave of increased performance to the team.

As the results keep on coming, working relations are further improved through increased bonding. The rate of turnover from the team drops, with other more talented players seeking ways of joining the team. The team then continues to grow as the results of increased teamwork come to light.

Picture of Noah Mangwarara

Noah Mangwarara

NOAH MANGWARARA is an international leadership coach and transformational speaker, renowned team building expert and Author with traceable footprints of positive impact and experience of more than 20 years spanning Southern, East and West Africa. He is the author of several books on Leadership, Motivation, Teamwork, Strategy and Public Speaking.

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