Secrets about getting things done
How wasps outside my window can teach you about management
There are three wasps building a nest outside of my window. The reason it caught my eye was the nest was stuck to the glass pane.
I can understand about mates (male and female of the species) working to build a nest. I also can understand a colony building a nest. Or the bachelor building a nest to attract a mate.
Nobody taught me about a threesome. Spouses and their firstborn? Queen and her two daughters? Or they are survivors of a larger colony? One thing about insects building nests is that you never see the trial and error like birds. They seem to get it right in their team projects.*
This could be due to survivorship bias where the failures are at the belly of their predators.
Management lesson: Everything in life is a learning experience. The manager’s job is to remember it and use it as a teachable moment.
The nest is stuck to the glass at only one point. The wasp that stuck it had to stay in the same position holding it there for hours. It has survived my few attempts to dislodge. Storms and strong wind have not blown down the nest.
The wasps have been building the rest of the nest for days. Forage and nest building for days on end. Wasps can survive on nectar so foraging is not that time-consuming.
Management lesson: In all businesses or projects, there is always a primary task that cannot be neglected. The manager’s job is to get other people to support it.
Ok, I am wrong. I have spotted a fourth team member. I guess there are three wasps on the day shift. So much for the story about the three amigos. The reason I know that there was a fourth member was when I splashed water on the window. The fourth wasp turned up shortly to review matters.
There are now four wasps on guard duty. Or they could just be standing around doing nothing. Or like middle management in a crisis, hoping their mere presence will resolve matters. There are still three wasps building the nest. The first wasp is rebuilding from the original attachment. The other two wasps are building the fallen nest. Draw your conclusion about management and productivity.
Management lesson: When there is a crisis, appear indispensable. The manager’s job is to appear in charge or in control.
The wasp had been building a bigger nest earlier. The nest was more like an outpost or franchise. I now understand that the bigger base allowed them to retreat to or call out for reinforcement. The wasps could be doing shift work.
*-It also means that the nest could be a c̶o̶r̶r̶e̶c̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ upgrade exercise. It is on the windowpane instead of a window ledge which is more exposed to the elements.
The splashing of water on the nest had not stopped its rebuilding. I now understood that the battle was a sideshow. There is also the advantage of building it out of paper. Paper is pretty durable. It is light. It can be waterproof.
It also explained the presence of this bird.
Management lesson: Project and people come and go. The manager’s job is survival. Something else will come along.