Written by: Dr. Amit Mishra
What Ants can Teach us About Business?
“Just look deep into Mother Nature, and then you will understand things better.”
Do the tiny “Ants” teach us the Business lessons? This article explores the “Ants faculty” and the lessons taught by them to the business fraternity. Teamwork, Faith, openness, diligence, and perseverance are some of the few key attributes of the ants.
Nature is the best teacher. That’s the reason our ancestors looked up to nature for knowledge and always promoted to conserve it to protect future generations. Nature provides a rich legacy of the unexplored library of technologies that process and handle information, materials, and energy.
Interesting Facts about “Ants”
Ants, a small-sized invertebrate, animals that do not have a spinal column (backbone), are commonly found insects in our home.
Are you aware of the unique capabilities of these tiny creatures? How do these tiny insects with tiny brains engineer sophisticated structures?
There are more than 12,000 known ant species available worldwide. They are predominantly prevalent in tropical forests of Arctic Circle and Antarctica. Ants are thought to have developed from wasp-like creatures around 100 million years ago after the appearance of blooming flowers on Earth.
- They are extremely organized.
- They are social animals. Termites, bees, ants, and wasps belong to the true social insects group. They always live in groups just like humans.
- They also have large heads, elbowed antennae, and powerful jaws. These insects belong to the order Hymenoptera: Family Formicidae, which includes wasps and bees.
- They are classified into soldier ants, worker ants, fertile males called drones and one or more fertile females called queens.
- They look much like termites but are different in having a narrow “waist” between the abdomen and thorax, which termites do not have.
- They don’t have lungs. The tiny holes all over the body allow the exchange of Oxygen and Carbon dioxide.
- They don’t have ears. They “hear” through their feet by feeling vibrations in the ground.
- These “tiny creatures” are capable of building a structure that is 25 feet tall (The height of Banana tree ranges between 6-25 feet).
- They can (Some Queen Ants) live for many years and have millions of babies.
- They can lift about 20 times their own body weight.
- They share child-rearing, farm, hunt, and wage war similar to humans.
Business Lessons taught by Ants
- Cooperation – Ants are aware of their individual duties and perform their tasks. It’s a lesson to be learned in business to work according to the assigned role and the sets of responsibilities to attain the goals of the organization. Teamwork or Cooperation among teammates is one of the key elements of success in business.
- Faith – Ants mark a trail in search of food. Trail pheromones are used for recruitment, for marking pathways to resources, and for specifying resource richness. The trail is followed by all other members of the ants in an ordered manner. They have complete faith in the leader ant leading the trail. It’s a lesson to be learned in a business that ruling through fear doesn’t work rather earning employees trust by respectful recognition of their accomplishments can improve the performance.
- Effective Communication – Ants are fairly intelligent. They mark a trail similar to transparent and open communication for fellow ants. In business, establishing and communicating clear objectives is the best way a company to create alignment among disparate disciplines within an organization. The more open a leadership team is in sharing their vision for the company like goals, strategies, and values it is likely to make a success.
- Focus- Ants are focused. They know what they’re looking for and figure out how to get it. In business, the team members need to be hardworking and never lose sight of the objective.
- Same Direction- Ants diligently follow the leader ant. Guide and motivation are the key factors for a team to work towards one goal and together move in the same direction to achieve the goal.
- The leader-follower partnership- Ant on the upfront leads the follower ants to the food source. The leader ants encourage the follower ants as the mentor and mentee relationship in the business world. In business, Confidence building is invaluable. Support of a coach is vital to work out challenges when facing major situations, dealing with crises, or handling conflict.
From the tiny creation of nature like ants to the big ones like elephants, each one of the creatures has a lesson to teach us. So, we need to have an open eye to learn things from these species of Nature because the coming era in business, finance, and education will require us to harness all of our competency for observation, relation, flexibility, understanding, and adaptability.