According to Fast Company magazine, in an article called “You Say You Want A Revolution” there’s a lot to be said for looking at patterns in nature as we think about our organizations. Looking at the social structure of birds can teach us a lot, according to physicist Hai-Tao Zhang at the University of Cambridge in England.

Just like humans, flocking birds, when finding food sources, follow the leadership group that has the most members. But somehow, a small band of like minded birds can sway the entire flock.

Zhang created a computer-based “swarm” to discern just what was going on. He set the program so that individuals would always follow the average movement of those around them. He discovered that in the presence of a small band of leaders moving all in the same direction, the swarm usually follows.

According to innovation specialist Sarah Caldicott this has implications for how to strategically create powerful innovation “nodes” in an organization.

Particularly important when small clusters of birds had discovered an important food source, the direction of the flock was changed when a small group of individual birds scattered throughout the flock all worked in concert to change the direction or behavior of the other birds.


From my perspective Positive Leadership is an important “food source.”

Positive leaders nourish participation, creativity and innovation. Positive leaders nourish the strengths of others. Positive leaders engage, enroll and enliven those who work for them. Positive leaders nourish positive thinking and motivation.

Recently a little birdie told me that we may be losing some momentum in practicing Positive Leadership behaviors as the focus of the organization has shifted to compliance and audits. That’s an important part of the business too. My challenge to you is to continue to practice Positive Leadership behaviors no matter what else is going on. The still new tools you are practicing will help you in every area of business, and help you bounce back quicker if the focus does shift temporarily.

Take a page from nature – get together in small groups – talk about your successes, support one another in using the tools. I’m always happy to get on the phone and do a refresher call on the tools you know – or teach you a few new ones.

Just a few birds flying in the same direction…

Enjoy your flight!

Read it here and check out the distribution patterns – you’ll enjoy it.

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