BEES ARE INCREDIBLE LITTLE CREATURES. And, as we’re finding out, vital to our entire food chain.

But they don’t actually produce food themselves, except honey. That’s not what makes them important.

Their role is crucial because they enable plants to do what they do best. They’re the catalyst, in a way, for why our food chain works.

As the leader in your organization, you have similar responsibility. Your role is to enable the entire rest of the organization to do what it does best – deliver value for your customers. Productively, profitably, and sustainably.

Chances are there’s no one else in the organization who focuses on this kind of big picture. They all have their vital areas of expertise, but without someone who pulls it all together, the system heads for disaster.

If you’re the catalyst, then, what does that mean you should do differently?

  • Your primary job is to enable your team. Sure, you may have some pieces of value-adding that you do personally, but don’t let that distract you from supporting and directing the team.
  • Your role is unique and powerful. You can only copy others’ roles to a limited extent. A bee might love being a donkey instead, but that means the important work of pollination isn’t being done.
  • Consistency matters. The bees can’t disappear for a year and then come back – that destroys the ecosystem. Likewise, you can’t be distracted from your leadership role for too long, because the momentum will start to dissipate.

These last two points sound like your full attention is demanded 24×7, and you’ll never be able to take a vacation. That’s absolutely not true, and you’ll burn out if that’s what you’re striving for.

Note that the flowers don’t care if it’s bee A or bee B. They care that the function of pollination continues. Likewise, your people care that the leadership function continues while you’re absent.

If decisions absolutely must be made in five minutes – a rarity – then train your people how to make decisions themselves. Before you take a three week vacation, set your team up to be self-reliant and access the resources you would have if you were present.

Just make sure that the leadership function continues.

Now go be a great busy bee!