Life is really complex. Sometimes it’s ugly, sometimes beautiful, sometimes it’s art, and sometimes it just is, but all too often its just complex. Life….this system of myriad systems, both perfectly perfect and self-correcting with rules both hidden and manifest moves in 3 dimensions (or not depending on which particle physicist you ask) and consistently “happens”.

Each day we wake, work, and play within this system of systems assuming a certain level of order or consistency because that’s how our brains have evolved to see things. It’s part and parcel of the human experience: mainly because our brains like it that way. We are content and confident that things will be a certain way tomorrow, not only because that’s how they were yesterday but because our brains prefer the efficiency of a stasis.

From the brain’s perspective, change is bad: not just because change is typically startling, unpredictable, or hard to manage, but because it’s a major red flag to the quality control guy in our frontal lobes that likes to keep things simple.

But change is inevitable. Our system of systems moves, jostles, and vibrates. It “happens” in a variety of subtle and derivatively new ways that have long-term and far-reaching consequences. Some of these changes are the system itself. Some are our interaction with or as part of the system. All are changes and have to be managed accordingly.

Which brings me to bees: bees are the perfect abstract model of living creatures working in unison for the continuation of the whole.  They have a perfect little hierarchical social caste system where everyone plays their role and the colony goes on….

Until change happens and they risk extinction. Bees haven’t evolved the means to recognize change, pivot, and win. Their leaders are focused on the output and productivity of today’s honey- not the vagaries and challenges of tomorrow. Bees struggle with life’s challenge of adapting and winning. They keep their heads down and work.

The life of bees is not dissimilar to the life of a business in this way.  We’ve created systems and hierarchies that we expect will work in unison for the survival of our colony. We produce, measure, and produce again in hopes of becoming a perfectly efficient system driving value to our bottom lines.

In so many ways the Life of Bees is our own.  This blog chronicles my personal adventure into many systems of systems and my eternal quest to not just be another honey bee.  Walk with me…

DKeith Wilson

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