NORTH BENNINGTON -- Matthew Harrington and his mother Deborah Mackin, both of New Directions Consulting in North Bennington, have created quite a buzz in the local business world recently with their new book, "Survival of the Hive: 7 Leadership Lessons from a Beehive."
"We really want to start a new conversation about leadership with this book," Harrington said. "Right now, we have this convergence of the old with the new happening -- the Googles, Facebooks, and Starbucks’ of the world are making leaps and bounds, coexisting with the ‘old school’ businesses and business methods."
The inspiration for their leadership guide, although certainly unconventional, was found right in Mackin’s backyard and proved to be the source of many a conversation between the mother and son team regarding the success rate of many modern-day businesses and the happiness of their employees.
According to Harrington, seven out of ten people hate their job, 72 percent of people are disenfranchised with their organization or company, and only 12 percent of workers feel they exhibit good leadership skills.
After becoming aware of these startling statistics, Mackin, a longtime business consultant and author of two previous best-selling "teaming" books, and Harrington, a marketing expert within his mother’s company, became intrigued at the correlation that could be drawn between the efficiency of a beehive and a flourishing, successful businesses.
In order to dive deeper into their philosophy, the duo took a week long summer vacation last year to Cape Cod, brainstorming, analyzing, and writing until the wee-hours, thinking of bees, of business, and ultimately crafting the first manuscript of, "Survival of the Hive."
Throughout the book, Mackin and Harrington use the analogy of a bee colony as a fable to demonstrate leadership.
Zync, a young bee, and the hive’s queen-to-be, serves as the readers’ contemporary, navigating through various struggles, and learning valuable leadership lessons with help from her mentors, Vision, Belief, and Strategy.
Among the seven important lessons demonstrated in the book are The Front Porch Philosophy of Accountability, the Bee-2-Bee "Waggle Dance" of Communication, the P-Factors: Footprint, Resourcing, Calming, and Unity, and the Perfect Product Honey System. The importance of trust within a company, or colony, is highlighted throughout. At the end of each chapter, Mackin and Harrington include talking points and questions for employers and employees to ask themselves.
"The questions serve as reflection," Harrington said. "Just to ask, ‘Okay, what did I learn?’ Then hopefully they can start a conversation within their own organization about what can be done differently."
A short read, at only 108 pages in length, Harrington said his goal, as well as his mother’s, was to make the book light and fun and easy to absorb. A train or plane book.
He noted that many companies tend to "kick-off" the fall quarter by holding retreats or seminars for employees. Harrington said "Survival of the Hive" would be an ideal tool or asset for such an event.
"CapCom Federal Credit Union in Albany has already purchased a bunch of copies to distribute among their employees," he said. "They’ve dubbed this year, ‘The Year of the Bee’ and have already made changes in their customer service that I’ve witnessed firsthand. It’s great to see."
According to Harrington, he and his mother blog weekly about the book and encourage readers to spark up a conversation on their website.
"It’s all about working to getting people more involved in their company, loving their job and what they do," Harrington said. "The idea right now isn’t, ‘Now the book is finished, so it’s done,’ it’s, ‘Now the book is finished and the conversation can begin.’"
Mackin and Harrington are currently in negotiation with Northshire Bookstore in Manchester for a Columbus Day Weekend book signing event.
Harrington will appear on the September cover of Capital Magazine, distributed throughout Albany, New York, as the month’s featured young professional.
To learn more about "Survival of the Hive," visit: www.survivakofthehive.com or follow them on Twitter @queenbeezync.
Contact Elizabeth Conkey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bethconkey.