Are Leading Entrepreneurs Considering the Ants? (Segment III)

Preface: I believe that robots should only have faces if they truly need them. Quote from Donald A. Norman

Are Leading Entrepreneurs Considering the Ants? (Segment III)

Credit: Donald J. Sauder, CPA | CVA

Set Deadlines

Ants know what task(s) they are responsible for as members to further the colonies’ vitality. Because they are respectable, responsible “social entrepreneurs,” they approach each colony’s responsibility or task with fastidious and accountable action. There isn’t time to be lazy in a nation of ants or time to look for short-cuts of responsibility or shifting the burden. Ants exhibit the same 20-Mile March theory outlined in the business book Great by Choice. This is steady, consistent, and uniform progress towards the project destination or goal, day after day, and month after month.

Those readers who have had the privilege to enjoy a homework assignment in school will understand the pressure of deadlines. Classroom success requires preparing the essay before a particular class day or have today’s lessons designed before class tomorrow. Sometimes multiple mid-year exams were on the same day. The ultimate goal of these individual classroom deadlines is for responsible participants to understand thoroughly the concepts being taught to be prepared for the final class examination(s).

When an (entrepreneurial) project matters, and that is most of the time, assigning project deadlines and focusing those resources involved and responsible for prioritizing time to complete that task or project either individually or as a team effectively, whether preparing an ice-cream cone for sale or painting a vehicle. The planning and accountability on a project deadline can help keep workload appraisals realistic.

Project deadlines help manage scheduling with preventions extra projects or meetings that could interfere with a deadline. Unfortunately, some managers drive deadlines and project workload expectations that require 101% or 110% from the team to achieve. This compels long hours and stressful work expectations and can lead to eventual failures in diminished energy for a team’s long-term success. Although on the contrast periodically from time to time, extra demands are typical of many roles. Procrastinators often fail in environments with tight deadline expectations, and being responsible for nonessential projects or task specifics are more appropriate for team management.  

Keeping project completion deadlines and achieving them on schedule and budget are the fields of top-teams. When used effectively, setting realistic deadlines and completing them successfully can provide the satisfaction of a job well-done, and the sweet taste of achievement, as enjoyed by leading performers. The setting, keeping, and achievement of realistic deadlines satisfactorily reveals the true capabilities of any team.

Division of Work

Henri Fayol, who started his career as a mining engineer in France in the 1860s, and eventually became director of a company with more than 1,000 employees, developed Fayol’s 14 principles of Management. The first of those 14 principles is the division of work. During the Dark Ages, markedly concluding with the Bubonic Plague that brought a profound shift to the world from the effects of an array of social, economic, cultural, and religious changes in ways of life – blazed the trail towards a new ear, leading to the Renaissance. This was the beginning bud of the most significant epochs for art, architecture, literature in human history, and the early blossoms of the division of work. This concept of division of work was introduced early in Plato’s Republic “Well then, how will our state supply these needs? It will need a farmer, a builder, and a weaver, and, I think, a shoemaker and one or two others to provide for our bodily needs”.  Yet, until the years of the Renaissance, these concepts gained limited mileage towards more free markets, and therefore the division of work that is enjoyed in today’s economies. 

Friedrich A. Hayek, in the written work The Use of Knowledge in Society first published in September 1945, proposed that a centrally planned economy could never match the efficiency of the open market because what is known by an individual member of society is only a small fraction of the sum of knowledge held by all members of the community. 

A decentralized economy thus complements the dispersed nature of information spread throughout society. Quoting “The price system is just one of those formations which man has learned to use (though he is still very far from having learned to make the best use of it) after he had stumbled upon it without understanding it. Through it, not only a division of labor but also a coordinated utilisation of resources based on an equally divided knowledge has become possible. The people who like to deride any suggestion that this may so usually distort the argument by insinuating that it asserts that by some miracle, just that sort of system has spontaneously grown up, which is best suited to modern civilisation. It is the other way round: man has been able to develop that division of labour on which our civilisation is based because he happened to stumble upon a method which made it possible. Had he not done so, he might still have developed some other, altogether different, type of civilisation….”

One ant study performed with the observations of organizational researchers objectively proved that in one ant colony, a single ant transported 57% of all items moved in a colony emigration, suggesting that small colonies are incredibly dependent on a few key individuals. This free-market observation provides a landscape feature of when the ambition to work is given appropriate latitude. Secondly, on observation, each ant’s amount of work was more evenly distributed in larger colonies. From scout ants to carrier ants, these social entrepreneurs instinctively divide responsibilities effectively  to maintain, build and grow existing and new colonies successfully. With this clear and classified division of work, ants successfully continue to thrive as “social entrepreneurs” in their colony environments as they have since the ancient days of the Proverbs writer’s reflections.

As (business) knowledge continues to exponentially lead to innovations, from candlestick makers to electricians and shepherds to fence builders and doctors to surgeons, and laborers  to robots, the concept of division of labor continues to successfully segregate the production or manufacturing of the product(s), distribution warehouses, and retail sale storefronts into individual enterprises for entrepreneurship. Have ant colonies developed this economic model in colonized successes over period of time or have they been quietly and industriously implementing this economic model since the first days of their creation? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *