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Preview: The Bumble Bee

The Bumble Bee

Ken Thompson's shared know-how on team dynamics, virtual collaboration and bioteaming

Last Build Date: Sat, 01 Jul 2017 16:03:03 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2018

The Prisoners Dilemma, Trust, Cooperation and Effective Teams

Sat, 01 Jul 2017 16:03:03 +0000

(image) Image Source: Chalkdust Magazine

I have been reading Lord Sacks daily thoughts "Celebrating Life" and was impressed by his piece on "The Prisoners Dilemma". The Dilemma in a nutshell is that 2 prisoners are given the chance to do a deal and betray each other. If you want more background I have written about the dilemma previously and it also features heavily in my new book.

Lord Sacks is the UK's chief Rabbi and highlights one vital aspect of the dilemma which I had not previously paid enough attention to - the fact that the two prisoners are not allowed to speak to each other!

High Performing Teams Video Course launched by Ken Thompson

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:04:17 +0000


High Performing Teams and High Performing Virtual Teams are topics very close to the heart of almost every leader irrespective of the size of their organization.

In this new course Ken Thompson blends material from his four books on teams into a modern and totally up-to-date course on how to successfully build and sustain High Performing Teams in today's virtual 24x7 world.

Instant Team: Game-Based Learning for Accelerated Team Development

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:18:39 +0000


Sadly, you cannot create a High-Performing Team in a day or afternoon or even over lunch. However, if you are put in the position where you, as a leader, simply must get the very best out of a group of your colleagues in very short timescales you can fast-track them towards more effective team-working using 3 simple ingredients:

1. Mechanisms such as competitive business simulation games or other short team challenges.
2. Briefing for the teams on these challenges with specific deadlines and goals but without any instruction about how they are to behave other than that "they are a team".
3. Facilitated team self-analysis sessions at the end of each round or chunk of work in the challenges to let teams review what kind of collaboration they are employing and how they might improve it.

The Superintelligent Organization: create total competitive advantage?

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:59:31 +0000

I have been studying one of the most highly regarded books on the future of AI (Artificial Intelligence), "Superintelligence - paths, dangers, strategies" by Nick Bostrom. Bostrom meticulously reviews the five most likely paths to "superintelligence" which he defines "as any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of (individual) humans in virtually all domains of interest." One of Bostrom's conclusions is totally unexpected and requires immediate consideration within today's major organizations and enterprises!

A Systematic Guide to Collaboration and Competition within Organizations

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 13:14:11 +0000

I am delighted to announce my new book "A Systematic Guide to Collaboration and Competition within Organizations" which is currently available at a special launch price of £5 for the paperback and £0.99 for the kindle version.

Launch Offer: Get Ken Thompson's 4 Systematic Guides for the price of 1

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 13:24:27 +0000

To celebrate the official launch of my Systematic Guides to Management and Leadership, for a very limited period I am discounting each of the 4 books by 75% off their retail price of £15 (or dollar/euro equivalent).

The Huffington Post: Biohacking the Organization

Thu, 21 Jul 2016 14:16:58 +0000

An excellent article on Bioteams by Doug Kirkpatrick, US Partner at NuFocus Strategic Group concludes: "The power and elegance of bioteaming is indisputable. Whether organizational leaders will detach themselves from the perceived security blanket of traditional, artificial hierarchy in order to fully experience that power is another question entirely?"

How to spot an ineffective org. values statement - easy - no conflict!

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 14:53:57 +0000

Organisational Values Statements are very popular these days as a way of lining up the people of the organisation behind a set of values which the organisation wishes to aspire to and be known for. However, in many of these statements the one thing which gives them real power has been left on the cutting room floor - conflict!

How good is your team? Try the Team Pressure Cooker Exercise!

Tue, 03 May 2016 11:34:37 +0000

Sometimes teams can become quite blind towards some very obvious improvements to their performance. There may be huge elephants in the team room which have somehow become camouflaged. Here is a short team exercise to quickly highlight big improvement opportunities by putting the team into an imaginary pressure cooker.

How good a team leader are you? Try my Team Leadership Assessment!

Tue, 12 Apr 2016 11:11:59 +0000

As a team leader you have two distinct leadership responsibilities - Managing the Individuals and Managing the Team. Leaders who fixate on managing the individuals tend to have happy teams which unfortunately under-perform in terms of deadlines, quality, customer satisfaction and budgets! Leaders who obsess on managing the team may hit most of these targets but at the expense of team member Alienation, Burnout, Compliance, Disinterest and eventually Exiting (easy to remember - ABCDE!). Great Team Leaders manage both responsibilities. Here is a simple framework with a nice supporting spreadsheet to help you assess and improve your leadership:

Free questionnaire and software to analyse any team's beliefs versus HPTs

Fri, 08 Apr 2016 16:06:13 +0000

I have written quite a lot about the importance of a team's beliefs on their performance and have published some modest research into the beliefs which differentiate 'high performing' teams from other teams. Until today I have not published the questionnaire which underpinned this research. I am now making this questionnaire available here and also, on request, a free spreadsheet tool to help you 'number crunch' and analyse the results from using the beliefs questionnaire with your own teams.

Free High Performing Teams Instant Healthcheck Tool Spreadsheet

Thu, 07 Apr 2016 15:46:03 +0000

An important free tool which I provide with my new book 'A Systematic Guide to High Performing Teams' is a Team Process Health Check Spreadsheet written in Microsoft Excel. The spreadsheet allows you to rapidly assess each of 16 important team process elements on a scale of 0-3 ranging from 'totally absent' to 'present and effective'.

The evolution of effective team working and how you can accelerate it!

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 16:30:13 +0000

By observing newly formed and existing teams playing business simulations I have learned some important insights into how team-working 'evolves' and offer here some specific ideas on how you might accelerate this evolution in your own organizational teams.

On the road to Effective Team Collaboration there seems to be two intermediate phases of 'naïve collaboration' which many teams seem to go through - Hyper-Communication and Over-Delegation.


The Importance of Team Game Plans and RAPPORT

Tue, 22 Mar 2016 10:10:23 +0000

Team Game Plans are essential when your team is faced with a new and challenging task, such as a business simulation game. To formulate a Game Plan the team must quickly look at their goals and targets and then, based on a shared set of priorities, values, mental models and working practices, come up with a plan for achieving them.

The word 'RAPPORT' is an excellent mnemonic for remembering the 7 key elements of a great Team Game Plan as RAPPORT is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as: 'A close and harmonious relationship in which the groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.'

So to have RAPPORT in your team you need to quickly agree your team's:



Ken Thompson's New Book on GAME-BASED LEARNING (GBL)

Mon, 08 Feb 2016 20:22:28 +0000

I am very pleased to announce the release of my new guide book:

My friend Charles Jennings who introduces the book kindly notes in his foreword that 'it provides a deep analysis and clear guidance to help practitioners develop effective social game-based learning solutions'.


A Leaders Guide to creating High Performing Teams (HPTs)

Tue, 01 Dec 2015 20:01:29 +0000

I am pleased to release a new white paper "A Leaders Guide to creating High Performing Teams (HPTs)". This 15-page executive guide, aimed at leaders and managers in all sizes and types of organisation, proposes and explains a pragmatic and comprehensive framework for the necessary interventions required to successfully introduce High Performing Teams (HPTs) into organisations.


Ken's New Book - A Systematic Guide to High Performing Teams just published on paperback and kindle.


Social design inspired by nature: Positive Impact Magazine

Sun, 30 Nov 2014 13:28:03 +0000

Excellent article by Positive Impact Magazine which reviews the growing field of Organizational Biomimicry and showcases Bioteams, the Biomimicry Institute and Honeybee Democracy. Nice examples of what we have learned from pigeons, bees, beetles, termites, geese, shrimps and even fungi.

CAMP: A simple but effective model for building high performing teams

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:53:29 +0000

I would like to share with you a very simple model I use for helping teams become more High Performing which addresses 4 key aspects of teams - Communications, Alignment, Meetings and Support ("CAMP").

New Deloitte Collaboration Study laments meetings & distractions costs

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:39:08 +0000

According to a new Deloitte Australia report, The Collaborative Economy, overlong meetings, distractions and failed projects are costing their economy $5.4 billion per annum.

Top teams understand the 4 different types of Teamwork in Nature

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:24:32 +0000

What do we mean by "Teamwork"? We often talk about Teamwork as if its a singular thing however in nature there are 4 different types - each of which have a very precise meaning. I call these Solowork, Crowdwork, Groupwork and Teamwork itself. An effective team knows how and when to use each type - an ineffective team only uses one!

*** Stop Press Ken's new book on teams is out A Systematic Guide to High Performing Teams ***

John Kotters new book: Organisation Biomimicry goes mainstream

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:26:41 +0000

I have just purchased John Kotter's new book XLR8 ("Accelerate") which as well as reworking his previous excellent thinking on change introduces two concepts which resonate with my work - The Dual Operating System and The Big Opportunity. Lets briefly look at each of them.

A free Leadership Development Benefits Estimator Tool

Sat, 28 Jun 2014 08:00:08 +0000

"How do you justify investment in a specific people development activity (e.g. Leadership, Change Management, Learning or Behaviour Change), such as a business simulation game, in a straightforward but credible way"? Here is a simple Excel-based tool which will get you started and which you can easily enhance if you need more.

Natures Design Guarantees - Bioteams in The Henry Ford Magazine

Thu, 12 Jun 2014 12:37:32 +0000

I am delighted to be able to publish a new Bioteams article in the Summer 2014 edition of The Henry Ford Magazine entitled "Teams in Nature". The article summarises the differences between human teams and natures teams in three critical areas: Communications, Leadership and Scalability.

Dashboard Simulations Blog Launched for Business Games

Tue, 03 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0000

I am pleased to announce that I have just launched the Dashboard Simulations Blog where I will publish articles on the topics of Business Simulation Games, Informal Learning, Gamification, Experiential Learning and Game-based Learning. It comes pre-loaded with a number of articles the most recent of which is A team game engagement process which guarantees transformative learning.

New High Performing Teams Simulation Game from Bioteams Ken Thompson

Wed, 19 Feb 2014 15:40:45 +0000

I am pleased to announce a new high performing team business simulation game, CHAPTER, which in a half-day puts you through your paces as the newly appointed manager of a ten-person team. To keep you on your toes your CEO just made your team the high profile pilot project for High Performing Teams across the whole company! The simulation integrates best practices from Informal Learning, Game-based Learning and Business Simulation.

How nature optimises its teams: small is beautiful but big is powerful

Sat, 16 Nov 2013 00:00:00 +0000

Nature has a way of automatically right-sizing a group to tackle the job at hand. Just like the Russian Matryoshka Dolls (dolls within dolls), small groups link into bigger ones, which in turn link into still bigger ones. In this follow-up article to "Why penguins have no commanding officer" and "Did ants invent the perfect system for communicating via mobile technology?", Ken Thompson writing for NESTA explores what we can learn about teamwork and group/community size from nature's most successful teams.

Business Continuity Management: The Ideal topic for Business Simulation

Sat, 02 Nov 2013 09:18:06 +0000

I have invited leading Business Continuity Management (BCM) expert Pierre Wettergren to write a short guest blog on to introduce this increasingly critical topic. Over the last 6 months Pierre and I have been collaborating on the design of a customisable BCM Simulation Game for Teams, which we call BCM eMATCH which allows them to run a virtual business and "what-if" the impact of different BCM strategies in response to changes and shocks their market conditions and internal operations.

Creating Values/Behaviour Questionnaires for Leadership Devel

Sun, 13 Oct 2013 10:42:42 +0000

This article explores how you can create and quickly deliver short Values/Behaviour Clarification Questionnaires to engage business communities on leadership development and change management programmes about key values and the critical behaviours needed to support them in order to improve individual and team performance.

Ten Steps to Better Negotiation Success in Your Business and Personal Life

Sun, 18 Aug 2013 15:56:13 +0000

In a perfect world, negotiation would be unnecessary. If you have something that someone wants, and they have something that you want, then you'd just go and exchange them without all the hassle. Unfortunately, real life is rarely like that. Most of us go through some sort of negotiation on a daily basis. Whether it's getting your child to eat their vegetables in exchange for ice cream or getting that fortune 500 Company to hire you, knowing how to negotiate is imperative. Here are ten steps to help you.

Power Posing: The Art and Science of Making Posture Work For You

Sun, 21 Jul 2013 11:19:19 +0000

Most of us are familiar with the concept of body language and its effects on our social interactions; for example, greeting a date with open arms and a warm expression says that we're excited for the evening, while a slumped stature and a pout says the opposite. These types of associations refer to what our posture and positioning say to others, but new research shows that the relationship runs in both directions. That is, the way we pose our bodies "speaks" not only to those around us, but to ourselves as well.