Hive Mentality

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3-26 hive
Buy Into Something Bigger Than Yourself

Bill Taylor, the cofounder of Fast Company, is often quoted as saying that genuine success and true happiness come from “losing yourself in a company you can believe in, a cause you are prepared to fight for, and a commitment to a problem that has a defined solution.” This “we is bigger than me” mantra is promoted by many business leaders who believe that a self-centered view is less beneficial than one that is more outwardly focused.

In his May 2011 New York Times Opinion Page, David Brooks encouraged graduates to look outside of themselves to find a problem that will summon their life. “Most people don’t form a self and then lead a life. They are called by a problem, and the self is constructed gradually by their calling.” He challenged the advice of many graduation speeches encouraging recent graduates to find themselves and chart their own course. David went so far as to say that the purpose of life is to lose yourself rather than find yourself.

One could argue that work environment today is very different than it was 30 or 40 years ago. Years ago, many graduates sought to join a company that was established, offered job security, invested in employee development and offered a career path. Somewhere along the way, due to many different factors including cut backs and layoffs, employees started to focus more on their own needs. Personal branding became commonplace with less concern for long-term employment. Two or three years with one company is seen as acceptable to both employer and employee. Many LinkedIn profiles of full time employees indicate an openness to new job opportunities. The shared purpose seems diluted.

Jonathan Haidt, in his book titled “The Righteous Mind”, refers to losing yourself in a purpose or a task as the hive mentality. Bees work together for the benefit of the hive. Those of us who have been, or are currently, lucky enough to work for a company that solves key business problems have lived in an environment with the hive mentality. Shared purpose overshadows individual objectives. The strength of the combined team brings success to all of the team members. The mission of the company is understood and lived by all of the employees. Because of this, uncommon successes are achieved for the company, its employees and its clients/customers.

I chose to join UMT Consulting Group because it offered me the opportunity to lose myself in a firm I believe in with a commitment to a problem that has a defined solution. The hive mentality is strong and allows me the ability to buy into something bigger than myself. The shared purpose and mission of our firm stretches across all roles and responsibilities with our long-standing clients being the key beneficiaries because of the community of practice we built and continue to reinforce.