Growing Pain #2: Structure. Just do what the ants do!

I stumbled across an article on ant colonies and how they organise themselves, here is an excerpt..

“Ant colonies are a superorganism. Just like no single cell is in control of your body, no ant controls the colony. Each colony has very specific rolesQueens are the baby-making machines. They can be thought of as the reproductive system of the ant superorganism. Queens mate with multiple drones before the colony starts, and then store the sperm and use it to fertilize eggs until their death. They never mate again. Drones are the males. Every year, all of the drones and the newly hatched queens (who also have wings) in the same area take off on a mating flight within a few days of each other. They meet up, the drones inseminate the queens, and then the drones die and the queens eat their wings, dig a small nest, and start a colony. Lastly, workers are non-reproducing female ants. They do almost all of the work in the colony (hence the name), and they are by far the most common. Generally, younger ants do work inside the nest - they take care of the larvae, dig new tunnels, get rid of refuse and dead ants ("midden" work), guard the nest, etc. Older workers are the foragers. This is the most dangerous work, so it makes sense to assign those who are about to die anyway. These are the ants that you see carrying crumbs across your kitchen floor.

In general, ants stick to one role (in the short term), unless there is a real need for another role…..”

I'm not sure I agree with the way the elderly are treated!! The article did however get me there something we can learn from our ant friends? Imagine the efficiency gains from having clear and specific roles always assigned to the most appropriate resource.

A common growing pain for Business is a failure to adjust the structure and decision making as the Business gets bigger. It's hard to do because the driver of the growth is the leader and the decisions that he/she is making.

So what is the right structure for your next phase of growth and how do you stay in control whilst making less decisions?

Focus: Getting leaders out of the trenches. Leaders who don’t have time to lead are a common feature of growing businesses. Ivan can fix that.

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