New England Newspapers
NORTH BENNINGTON, Vt. -- Matthew Harrington and his mother, Deborah Mackin, both of New Directions Consulting in North Bennington, have created quite a buzz in the area 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 unconventional inspiration for their leadership guide was found right in Mackin’s backyard and proved to be the source of many conversations between the mother-and-son team on the success rate of modern-day businesses and the happiness of their employees.
According to Harrington, seven out of 10 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 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, 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 reader’s contemporary, navigating through various struggles and learning valuable leadership lessons with help from her mentors, Vision, Belief and Strategy.
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.
A short read at only 108 pages, Harrington said his goal, as well as his mother’s, was to make the book light and fun and easy to absorb.
"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.’"