Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

1 year ago · 5 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Circular Teams

Circular TeamsCircular Teams

Ali Anani, PhO

It is amazing how ideas emerge! I was researching for the different plant metaphors that people suggested for growth such as “Toyota is like green tomato”, leaders “are like dandelions” and the “Banyan tree”., or like or more like the” bamboo Chinese tree” and other metaphors. I shall be sharing them in a future post. While doing the research it puzzled me how plants recycle their wastes to be the nutrients for other plants. This observation has inspired the idea of circular economy. Rather than follow the linear model of Make-Use-Dispose upgrade to a circular one of different 3- Rs: (Refurbish- Reuse- Recycle). This thinking is establishing roots and is being firmly developing. It is, in emulation of plants, why not have human ideas and experiences are recycled as raw materials for more enriched ideas and experiences? Why not have the circular teams to recycle their ideas and expertise so that new lean thinking may develop?

A circular economy is an economic system of closed loops in which raw materials, components and products lose their value as little as possible, renewable energy sources are used and systems thinking is at the core.

Ideas started flowing in my mind and new questions emerged accordingly. One idea that is wasted or neglected idea maybe the source feed for generating new ideas. In addition, the idea of circular teams sparkled in front of my eyes.

For circular teams to form they need to grow like trees and plants do. Trees first develop their root systems for they sense that the roots even though are underground they support the tree with water and the nutrients for the tree to grow with enough strong bark to carry the tree. The roots spread in many directions in search for food. Some roots may even find their way in the cracks of rocks in search for food. The roots have a symbiotic relationship with the fungi. The tree provides the fungi with sugar and the tree may use the roots of the fungi as “fiber optics” to communicate electrical signals to neighboring trees warning them of forthcoming risk from hostile insects as well as extracting needed nutrients. This relationship is strong because of the lasting need for this collaboration.

Likewise, teams and organizations may only grow if they have deep roots of knowledge to collect and circulate. Knowledge is what feeds the roots and is the source of different nutrients. Likewise, teams need to have different knowledge from different sciences and ideas to grow well.

The variety of the members of a team should be a cohesive force rather than a repulsive one for every member of the team realizes the need for others’ “knowledge nutrients” to grow as a tree does.

the roots of values and
beliefs aren't strong enough

then they can't form a strong

Some trees have hollow barks. It is in these hollows these trees host plants so that when they die their nutrients are passed through the hollow barks to the “grassroots” workers to absorb. Old employees may have lost the edge of new technologies, but they store great experiences that they must be willing to pass downward to the roots to enrich them with new nutritional ideas. Self-renewing of ideas, of employees and of products are what keeps a business antifragile. These old employees have the stored experiences to inoculate old ideas and generate new ones.



Reproduce a

Like trees that keep changing their leaves to manufacture food so are the trees of teams. They need to change some of the employees or add new ones so that they may keep their production quality high. It is self-renewal of not just part of the workers or the “upper-ground workers”, but also the grassroots workers so that the whole team might grow.

We plant trees or plants along with other companion plants. This is a two-edged approach for they not all have mutual symbiosis to grow. For example, some companions plants help improve the health and vigor of the tomato plants, some improve the tomato flavor, and other companion plants are used to repel and deter insects. Select team members who have the character and values to work with others; otherwise, the prevailing culture becomes the unhealthy soil to grow new seeds of ideas, or that the harvested fruits of ideas may even lead to late blights, as is the case in growing tomatoes with cauliflower, for example.

Not all plants make “good teammates’. Back to tomatoes, Eggplant, peppers, and potatoes: These plants are in the nightshade family like tomatoes and are all susceptible to early and late blight, which will build up in the soil and get worse each year.

The roots of teams must grow in a soil of values. Knowledge, beliefs, and void of employees who just are the cause of late blights that may intoxicate the collective team work. These are important issues if we thrive to form circular teams so that no waste will be discarded; in contrast, it shall be the feedstock for greater ideas.

It is circular collaboration that is based on trust and solid core values that keep this circulation going in rounds with the flow of information and ideas circulating from roots to the top of the {team tree) and back.

A good example of the need for circular teams and circular ideas is sticky notes. The adhesive that was prepared as glue for cartoon boxes failed. The product was about to be discarded. Somebody then asked an opportunity-widening question “if it is not good for cartoon boxes can’t it be useful for something else”. The question circulated and the answer was to make the sticky notes. No waste of ideas, but by diverging our thinking they could be the gems we are looking for. The adhesive has a microsphere structure, which meant it could be removed without leaving residue and ready for reuse. . For more ideas, see this reference

Other examples of fascinating ideas to transform their trash into beauty are “65 upcycling ideas to transform your old stuff”. There are some genius ideas to transform trash creatively to useful ideas. Waste is indeed a cheap resource for creative applications.

E-waste is a rapidly field of increased interests. The World Economic Forum has repeatedly highlighted the risks and opportunities in such wastes. Humankind’s insatiable demand for electronic devices is creating the world’s fastest-growing waste stream. Some forms are growing exponentially. The United Nations calls it a tsunami of e-waste. “Get it right and we will see a lot less of our precious minerals, metals and resources dumped into landfill. The benefit to industry and workers as well as the health of people and the environment could be enormous. It is crucial we swiftly employ a more circular vision in this sector”.  More than 120 countries have an annual GDP lower than the value of our growing pile of global e-waste. See also this presentation for more information. For plastic wastes that grow exponentially see this presentation. My question is how many pioneering ideas end in waste to convert these wastes into financial and environmental profits?

If we realize that 96% of innovations ended in complete failure, we may realize how much efforts ended in the wastebasket. So much waste not to be circulated.


                                                                    One possibility for the 3- Rs of teams

I hope you to enjoy the video blow on “The Invention of the Cardboard Box”

Ideas are trees-like. They are subject to pruning, inoculations, building symbiotic relationships, having roots, fertilization of ideas, branching of ideas, blossoming of ideas and as trees talk to each other. Make your ideas talk to each other.

How trees secretly talk to each other - BBC News

Communication is essential for forming circular teams. Hopefully, roots of ideas talk to each other similarly.

I invite the readers of this post to share their wisdom.

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Jerry Fletcher Your words are delightful. Thank you dear friend

Jerry Fletcher

1 year ago #43

DR. Ali, Delightful!

Million thanks to readers to make the following notification from LinkedIn possible: Congrats, your post has been trending in #creativity View hashtag

Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #41

Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee Well I trust the One with the yardstick '~) He knows the measure of me ... and thee ;~) He is also the Master-Gardener ;~) His pruning is intended to bring forth new fruit (creativity ... increased capacity) We are never closer to Him that when he is pruning us ;~)

Fay Vietmeier You are amazing with your insights dear Fay. Yes, fresh eyes to old ideas could mean finding new use, new rebirth and so our creativity capacity as it expands. You are a broken fractal my friend. This means that no measurement shall be correct in measuring your fractal spiritual power.

Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #39

Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee "Old items are like old IDEAS" ... and "old" people We are all subject to cyclical usages ;~) The thought occurs to me that 100 people (for example) can look at an "old" idea (or even an "old item") And there might flow out 100 new applications ... tweaks to the old Remarkable is the human mind and its creative ability Creativity is like capacity ... unbound ... unchained ... without measure "With the measure you use ... it will be measured to you" ~ Matthew 7 Now this is speaking about judging but ... I see the application to creativity & capacity

Fay Vietmeier SO, old items are like old ideas- they are both subject to cyclical usages

Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #37

Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador When my son was growing up I often visited children's resale shoppes ... and would at times find great items @ great value Children outgrow clothing so quickly ... the items one might find are at time, "like new" I stopped in consignment shoppe last year and found a brand new organizer (carry phone etc) ... another great value ;~) Plus at times in consignment shoppes there are often designer clothes ... unique and well made/good material I used to sew ... love great fabrics ... very hard to find "good material" in clothing these days ... A sagacious shopper is always in style ;~)

Pascal Derrien I deeply thank you for your re-share of this post/

What happened to those days where we repurposed? Being innovative and reusing worn or outdated items is a great idea and reminds me of the saying - waste not, want not, John Rylance, greed is the culprit as we live in a world of buy, buy, buy. With that said, it is possible to buy something new to the consumer, yet preowned. And I agree quality workmanship has declined.

This is again a great example on how to motivate people to make use of their wastes. Thank you for sharing it John Rylance

John Rylance

1 year ago #33

In the UK we have a TV program Money for Nothing, in which items are saved fro the rubbish tip given to craftsmen (and women), who turn them into desirable items. Which are then sold. The profits after costs are given to the person who was going to dump the item. This can be between a few pounds and occasionally £100-£200.

Thank you Mohammed Abdul Jawad for your re-share of the post. Keep well my friend.

Fay Vietmeier Just a quick comment. You highlight an issue that is the gradual disappearance of skilful arts. Same applies to painters who used their imagination and hand skills to make wonders. The computer with its software will cause many of these arts to be almost forgotten because we are obsessed with mass production and profit-making.

Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #30

Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador it's "RE-THINK" that is a key ;~) Your comment reminded me of the GREED that drives and underlies being a consumer ... America has earned being the worlds consumers ... the expectation of constantly consuming I am increasingly concerned with the mindset of architect-ed obsolescence ... again GREED Why re-use ... recycle ... renovate when you can go buy something "new" ... even if it's intended (short-term) destination is a LANDFILL ... the pride of quality workmanship is becoming "obsolete"

Amazing, as I have just shared your very thoughtful post Kevin Baker Yes, I agree with you

Fay Vietmeier You extracted a real pearl. The shell of your oyster-draft-file has opened up like a flower in a breeze. "You are one question away from the answer you need ... to find the solution you seek.” ~fem-v One pearl my dear friend leads to more pearls. Awaiting for your collection

Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #27

John Rylance A thought illuminated my mind reading your comment: "pile of ideas waste." It can take several "light bulb" moments each viable in their own way to come up with final solution. Refurbish - Re-use - Re-cycle. The thought is: "One mans trash is another mans treasure."

Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #26

Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee I love that "circulation of questions" as the title ;~) This is a rich insight rich my dear Professor: your repeating of a comment caused a layer to be uncovered ;~) "Circulation of questions and what a great idea this is! Ideas circulate because we expand them by asking questions. People will ask different questions and one of these questions could be the key we are searching for." The “circulation of questions” reminds me of something a former business owner once said to me but the thought stuck in my mind “You are once person away from who you need to know” Which I will extend to say: “You are one question away from the answer you need ... to find the solution you seek.” ~fem-v I shall be quoting this in an upcoming post ;~) ... this bee could buzz around you just picking up pearls all day ;~)

Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #25

Harvey Lloyd Always rich are your insights Harvey “Personal proliferation has to align with corporate goals. Each leader must determine what personal success looks like for each team member.” ... for some this might appear a “dead end” . .. if well-conceived & well-conveyed: it should appear a two-way street 2) “This nuance sounds ambiguous but is a game changer once harnessed.” "Harnessing" ... that is key How to harness the skill and creativity of your workforce. Trust is a large component Shared mission & vision (too often this is imposed) Although if one is a “Leader” ... the ability to create this WITH your team demonstrates vision & wisdom. Such engagement engenders buy-in: enabling the “leader” to capture & optimize the skills & creativity of the team 3) “Main goals are important but these goals must throw off personal benefit from the individual members perspective” No matter what the shape of the team: WII-MF ... the oldest frequency in the world of work (and often in life) “What’s in it for ME” (such is human wiring) (mechanism for variable personal outcomes to exist) And to be realized

Lovely comment dear John Rylance I shall wait hoping for dear Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador respons.

John Rylance

1 year ago #23

#20 Franci's post bought to mind this phrase from my child hood. Make do and mend. Epitomised by these. A child's dressing gown made out an adults old coat. Sides to middling--- cutting bed sheets in half so that the worn centres were on the outside and and the less worn edges were in the middle. Hand - me - downs ---- clothes out grown by older siblings. And so on all part of my childhood. Definitely Franci's 4Rs . Not forgetting trees sawn cut chopped into logs for the fire. As Grandmother says warms you twice. She was right it did.

Fay Vietmeier I thank you dear friend for your re-share.

Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador I also thank you for your re-share of the post.

Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador I thank you for your sharing the quote by William Booth. He is very correct. It amazes me that in spite of these wisdom we humans still pile up wastes exponentially at an alarming rate. We waste our sources and harm our environments. Thank you for adding the rethink to the cycle. Yes, it is quite relevant.

"There appears to be a deeply embedded uneasiness in our culture about throwing away junk that can be reused. Perhaps, in part, it is guilt about consumption. Perhaps it also feels unnatural. Mother Nature doesn't throw stuff away. Dead trees, birds, beetles and elephants are pretty quickly recycled by the system." - William Booth I've said this before and that is we can learn a lot from nature if we would observe and listen. refurbish-reuse-recycle-rethink = healthy environment and a healthy mind

Debasish Majumder I appreciate greatly your sharing and commenting dear friend. Yes, trees have their authenticity as no tree is an exact copy of another; yet they also "realize" that they need to belong to their community. I don't know if you has the opportunity to watch the last video in the post. This short video describes brilliantly that the "trees pride" standing high; yet they cooperate with the underground fungi. They are not suffering from the feelings of greatness. This helps the trees communicate and for the tree community to stay as one. Like you said, humans need to understand and extend this concept to their lives.

Debasish Majumder

1 year ago #17

"Law of identity" gives a status to trees in the nature's floor with its title with distinction. but the environment with light, air, soil are all composed trees along with its companions. human beings are ruthlessly killing trees and disconnecting their communicating network too. human civilization thrives enormously, ignoring the intense relationship with trees and one supplement to other for their existence being largely devastated. I wonder how "retain, regrow and reproduce" can revamp? however great buzz sir Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the buzz.

Fay Vietmeier Thank you for your expansions and casting more light on how great ideas may develop unconsciously. One line thoroughly captured my attention and it is worthy a book on its own my dear Fay. It is "The question circulated and the answer was to make the sticky notes". Circulation of questions and what a great idea this is! Ideas circulate because we expand them by asking questions. People will ask different questions and one of these questions could be the key we are searching for. If I were to title this poat for a better one it would be "circulation of questions". May be this is a title for one of your forthcoming posts dear.

Fay Vietmeier

1 year ago #15

Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee Brilliant post my dear Professor ;~) It is my honor to share ... in the hope that it ignites imaginations to “Retrain~Regrow~Reproduce” The IDEAS herein could be expanded into a book The video about the cardboard box was illuminating ... driving home that from “accidents” come innovation;~) I loved that there was a curious “somebody” who ask: an opportunity-widening question “if it is not good for cartoon boxes can’t it be useful for something else”. The question circulated and the answer was to make the sticky notes. The idea for the Post-it note was conceived in 1974 by Arthur Fry as a way of holding bookmarks in his hymnal while singing in the church choir. He was aware of an adhesive accidentally developed in 1968 by fellow 3M employee Spencer Silver. No application for the lightly sticky stuff was apparent until Fry's idea. The 3M company was initially skeptical about the product's profitability, but in 1980, the product was introduced around the world. Today, Post-it notes are sold in more than 100 countries. More IDEAS that resulted from “accidents-mistakes” Saccharin SLINKY (toy) Potato Chips Play-Doh

John Rylance Well, the 3-Rs that I suggested are Refurbish- Regrow- Reproduce for teams Yes, you are right the 3- Rs for waste cycling are (Refurbish- Reuse- Recycle) The sanitary example you provided is finding a salvage value for the waste. It is a great idea

John Rylance

1 year ago #13

it's not my 3Rs, it comes from early in your piece. When hand sanitisers were in short supply, a firm that made gin, and had a surplus due to closure of pubs bars etc. during lockdown. Turned the excess into hand sanitizers.

Love your thoughts here. The alignment of Values, critical thinking and persona. I wonder if with all these biases surrounding us if the problem is indeed their alignment and this explains why great leaders are a scarcity. Knowing something is one thing, articulating this understanding is apparently both science and arts.

Harvey Lloyd

1 year ago #11

We need not use Carl Jung's nomenclature. Professionals know these concepts as Values (Shadow) or Critical Thinking/confirmation bias (Ego) and persona as behavior/presentation. These are all the same concepts as each, starting with person dive deeper into the human self awareness paradigm. I believe a lot of leaders know this concept, but may not be able to articulate the thoughts. If we pursue success, of our own definition, then these three levels will be forced to align or success will become just of reach and torturous. My ultimate question a few decades ago drove me to attempt to understand why one person fails and another succeeds. Snap judgments would have us believe status, education or better idea is the reason. I found in my journey of understanding, that each success is surrounded with a diverse team, in house and external that believed in the individuals ability to succeed. Trust, communications and self awareness were all integral.

Harvey Lloyd Yes, what behaviors we see are motivated by our egos/ shadows. There lies the real cause for our behaviors. I wonder what percentage of leaders understand the interplay of the shadow/echo/persona. What behaviors we see are the product of our shadows and egos. Some people are mostly controlled by their shadow and others are motivated by their ego. Others between the two. May be there lies the problem.

John Rylance First, I loved your 3-Rs of (Refurbish - Re-use - Re-cycle: Yes, what might be waste for me for another creative mind it could be the starting material for a new product. I recall a famous manufacturing pharmaceutical company here throwing away liquids if stored for sometime because they aren't any more of analytical grade to be used in manufacturing. The company disposed off them even though some of them were quite expensive. Upon reviewing the chemical compositions of the thrown-away chemicals I discovered that one of them (a liquid) is the same liquid that is used in dry cleaning. This is an expensive one. The pharmaceutical company now sells their old stock to dry cleaners at a good price instead of dumping it. We need a fresh skin of thinking

Harvey Lloyd

1 year ago #8

Mainly these questions assist leaders in developing an understanding of a team members persona and its presentations. These presentations are often taken at face value as opposed to seeing the Ego/Shadow level mixing. The persona we experience is seen as behavior. Positive or negative. But behind the behavior is the true motivation where ego is sorting out shadow concepts within the current environment. Leaders should recognize this sorting is where real understanding and empathy can be applied. I have watched as many new leaders attempt to manage the mere behavior without identifying the causal ego/shadow cognitive dissonance as seen by the team member. Sometimes it is just behavior or as we hear it "venting" this is a part of the communication process that should not be over looked. Sometimes we do just get sideways within environments, this is ok. In this circumstance we merely need to give the member the platform to unload the Pandora's box they have accumulated. More often than not though we do experience behaviors of others through the lens of judgement rather than understanding. Understanding does not = agreement. It merely states that i/we understand your point and its motivation. Leaving room for solution instead of argument.

John Rylance

1 year ago #7

This piece will need several reads to digest all the points. At this stage I am interested in your "pile of ideas waste." Surely trees use the pile of waste to re-propagate. How many sycamore keys or acorns does it take to produce a new tree? Are all those that don't come to fruition really wasted? Many provide a food source. This might be a waste for the tree but is useful for others. How many of us enjoyed the Autumn pastime of playing conkers? It can take several "light bulb" moments each viable in their own way to come up with final solution. Refurbish - Re-use - Re-cycle.

Harvey Lloyd These are great questions to ask. Your comments here casts light on how to stop the late blights in teams where few members may spoil the effort of the team. I consider these questions as a filter to the selection of team members/ Great thoughts, Harvey

Yes, and rightly you highlight the importance of individuals to be antifragile in hostile environments and meet the imposed challenges with compassion. What if the leader lacks this antifragility? Thinning deeper on this issue I feel this is a core reason why the pile of "ideas waste" keep their acceleration rate.

Harvey Lloyd

1 year ago #4

Just to be clear the emotion expressing words of aggression, passion and passive are all defined inside parameters of professionally acceptable discourse. Some questions i ask folks on our teams to understand their language set: Can you express yourself positively in a negative environment? Can you actively listen within a negative environment and hear what is really be asked? (And can you express back to the person what you really heard) Do you associate dialogue of understanding with agreement? What is the difference between agreement and understanding? These are great dialogue questions that can help team members develop their new language.

Harvey Lloyd

1 year ago #3

Aggression, passion and passive all have a language. Most of the languages come from experiences in what we like and dont like along with outcomes that demonstrated some form of loss. A person growing up in a very passive environment will never learn the language of aggression also those who grow up in an aggressive environment will not learn the language of compassion. The ability to be compassionate within an aggressive environment or aggressive within a compassionate one, is the key to expression. Anti-Fragile explored these topics along with Jonathan Haidt of NYC School of Business. Anti-Fragile dealt with exposing our youth to the spectrum of personalities while Haidt discussed the nuances of environments and how our language develops from experiences. Being able to express ourselves across different emotional environments is the only sure way that our perspective is in align with corporate goals. Lacking this language set we must rely on the leader, somewhat blindly, to ensure our personal outcomes. A somewhat vulnerable position. I know i have made assumptions towards this end and been met with team members who exploded at goal attainment as they felt betrayed. The outcome had not met their personal expectations.

Harvey Lloyd Striking comment, as usual. One idea that is refreshing for me is "One of the key components i have encountered is that most team members can explain in great detail what they don't want, but have no words for what they do want".This is what I coined sometime ago as "unequal opposites". If it rains the sky must be cloudy, but the reverse isn't necessarily true. The sky may be cloudy and still it doesn't rain. Your quote says the same. Is it due to our bias to avoid the things that we don't want?? I think it is so. This may explain and again I quote you " Personal proliferation has to align with corporate goals". This is a crucial point for the exponential growth of personal goals away from the corporate goals may lead to the rapid formation of large gaps and this could destabilize the corporation. If every employee behaves similarly we can imagine how many gaps shall appear in the structure of the corporation.

Harvey Lloyd

1 year ago #1

Watching nature and its seemingly random aspect of proliferation we can study the patterns. In humans we can see the same patterns and to some extent they correlate. However there is one great exception. Each human not only must see the endgame as possible but also what they would be able to derive from success. Personal proliferation has to align with corporate goals. This nuance sounds ambiguous but is a game changer once harnessed. Each leader must determine what personal success looks like for each team member. The shared goal will be viewed by each member differently concerning their fitment. Unfortunately we seem to live in a society where people have a difficult time expressing themselves or the environment does not offer any mechanism for variable personal outcomes to exist. Circular teams would require that nuance be a part of the structure. Main goals are important but these goals must throw off personal benefit from the individual members perspective. One of the key components i have encountered is that most team members can explain in great detail what they don't want, but have no words for what they do want. This presents a challenge for leadership as they engage in creating a new communications style and language for the team member.

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