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Swarm or flock? How does your organization team together?

Building on an idea from Gartner, Marla Gottschalk recently described ‘work swarms’ as a “flurry of collective activity to deal with a non routine problem at work”. In today’s connected, competitive and ever changing world, this need to form and reform teams is more routine than not.

As Dr. Gottschalk points out, the ability to quickly assemble a cross-functional or cross-departmental team is key to adapting quickly to new business challenges.

For this to work, each individual needs to be acutely aware of those working alongside, so they can stay constantly aligned in an ever-shifting, dynamic world.

Rapid team forming is not just an exercise in quickly gathering the right talent and skills, it is equally important to dynamically coordinate activities and purpose. Think of a flock of birds – responsive, cooperative and fluid. In swarms and flocks, everyone acts as an individual, looks for important external signals, watches out for those around them and quickly follows the right local leader for the task at hand.

As Marla points out, with the right tools, your organization can also flock together. Jostle on!

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Brad Palmer

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