Honey, I’ll manage you!

The beehive boasts a sign as you approach:

DO NOT DISTURB! ANNUAL TARGETS TO BE MET!

The beehive is bustling with activity. There is a honey target to meet before the winter season sets in, and the flowers wither away. The important look and sense of purpose in the flight of every single worker bee is evident, and one would want to stay away from them to enable them to do their own work, which is fantastically co-ordinated and classically implemented by exceptionally motivated worker bees. There is the busy queen bee too, laying and hatching eggs in the hive.

Works perfectly: Queen bee lays eggs, worker bees collect nectar. Everything is hunky-dory as long as the bear doesn’t get its paws on the hive.

Now, let’s introduce Management into this setup:
There are several manager bees whose purpose in life is to ensure the worker bees reporting to them meet their targets. There are fewer Senior manager bees whose purpose in life is to ensure that the manager bees meet their target. Even fewer Director bees whose purpose is to ensure that the senior manager bees meet their targets and very few bees to directly report to the Queen bee.

Valid points in current context:
1) The worker bees already are meeting their targets, why have another bee to oversee what they are doing perfectly well? *Argument squashed.*
2) The Queen bee is really not interested in what her direct report bees report because she is busy laying eggs. *Point to be noted*

The day dawns and the worker bees bustle along as usual, collecting nectar. Only now, every hour, they have to come to the manager bee to report that things are going fine, and the nectar collection is going smoothly.
Cumulative time spent during the day reporting status and looking for manager bee: 90 minutes per bee per day.
Target: lowered to accomodate for this activity, and winter months spent with less honey for more bees.

Once all this data is noted, the manager bee speeds away to update the senior manager and the senior manager bee to the director bee and so on and so forth.
Loss of productivity: nil, since there is no contribution to nectar gathering from these bees.

One particular patch of flowers does not yield as much nectar, but the bees know to steer clear of it, till the manager bee notes this, and prods the bees to keep trying harder there. Soon, manager bee, senior manager bee and director bee visit the patch several times a day, and get more bees trying futilely to obtain nectar from this patch, when the remaining flowers waste their perfectly good nectar.

Side Effect:
The hard-working bee wants a break. Previously, he would have just dawdled on a minute longer on a favorite flower, and then gone about his own duties. But now, he sees before him a working model of a set of bees that do nothing all day except fly around looking at other bees, and soon he wants to become a manager bee. Competition sets in, the ugly head of jealousy and scheming cloud the clear vision of otherwise happy, united worker bees.

The Pandora’s box is opened.

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6 thoughts on “Honey, I’ll manage you!”

  1. Awesomely written.
    Now, you should hide this smelling (writing blog) from manager bee, you don’t want to give the impression that honey collecting bee has sometime in hand to smell the flowers 🙂

  2. You have just created a new management philosophy! :-). Why dont you fiddle with it a little more and do a PhD in it. Or are you already? No, I am serious. Your analogy is amazing and explains things better than anything else; specially to the managerial strata of any industry. :-)They could read this and understand what crap they do all day. 🙂 If we told them directly they wouldnt understand a thing. 🙂 This introduces the objectivity reqd for them to understand.

  3. Thanks Archana & Prabhu: Maybe I will do a study in this and conduct management training based on this – Haa Haa!

  4. Super post. I could relate to every word!!! Especially since I happen to be a worker bee who has the attention of several manager bees at the same time!
    Let’s check out their reaction when I forward this to them!!!

  5. Oh Anand: I should have put a disclaimer to this post stating: “Repercussions to manager bees reading this mail has not yet ascertained. “

    But…do let me know your observations!

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