Recent Reading

Teeming: Unleashing Nature's Teamwork Magic

By Mehedi Shamim | 31 Mar, 2024

Teeming: Unleashing Nature's Teamwork Magic

I recently attended a workshop on scaling up with Verne Harnish, a renowned growth expert. During the workshop, he recommended a book called ‘Teaming’ by Tamsin Woolley-Barker as a valuable resource for collaboration and working towards shared objectives, especially for companies with a strong sense of purpose. I was thrilled to read the book and was even more excited when our boss, Mr. Mike, provided copies for all of us. I read and reread the book multiple times and now I want to tell you why it's a must-read and deserves a place in your bookshelf.


Teeming is an innovative book that offers a fresh perspective on addressing the major challenges confronting our world today, presenting a paradigm shift in our understanding. Tamsin Woolley-Barker is a brilliant and approachable writer with an immense knowledge about how our fellow travelers on this planet, have survived and prospered much longer than we humans. 


This exceptional book explores the intriguing behavior of social organisms, including colonies of ants, clouds of bats, packs of wolves, schools of fish, and human groups like rallies, armies, and corporations. It draws parallels between these groups, examining how their collective behavior or intelligence often surprises individuals, leaving them amazed and saying, ‘I can't believe I did that!’ Teeming offers an enthralling blend of sociobiology, biomimicry, and organization theory, providing a wealth of facts and theories to demystify these complex superorganisms composed of individuals like us.


Highly social animals like dolphins, elephants, wolves, and baboons display complex collaboration similar to humans. They recognize the limitations of individual intelligence and work together to achieve their goals. On the other hand, ants, honeybees, slime molds, and fungi achieve efficient collaboration and innovation through networked structures. They coordinate the actions of millions of individuals to create sustainable and abundant environments. In the modern era, we can use the internet to learn from these strategies and apply them to our benefit. Teeming proposes four simple principles - Collective Intelligence, Distributed Leadership, Swarm Creativity, and Regenerative Value - that can help us pool our diverse and independent experiences to create rich hotspots of abundance and exquisite resilience to change. We too can achieve great things by working together.


Explore these methods highlighted in the book:

Collective Intelligence: Avoid simplifying problems but break them down into smaller tasks that can be tackled by collaborative teams.

Distributed Leadership: Encourage ongoing collaboration across the entire organization and involve all team members.

Swarm Creativity: Innovation thrives when ideas can freely connect and intersect with other ideas.  


We have a good understanding of how cells in our bodies work together, but we still have much to learn about how individuals within larger groups interact. The book ‘Teeming’ explores the principles borrowed from nature's societies that can help organizations evolve and adapt to rapid changes. As a marketing and strategy expert, I plan to keep this book on my desk permanently.


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