Be Like a Bee: 5 Lessons Beekeeping Can Teach us About Work

By | Building a Company, Communication, Culture, Healthy Stuff, Team Member Spotlight | No Comments

My interest in beekeeping started at a farmer’s market. There’s always a booth with local honey at the farmer’s market I love to visit at the beach. When I visited for the first time, I sampled many different types of honey and other bee products. I also got into a conversation with the beekeepers at the booth and found out about the many uses for honey, how it’s made, and about the importance of bees. I was intrigued ever since that day!

My father-in-law loves honey, so whenever I travel, I always pick up local honey from whatever city I visit. After doing this several times, I decided it might be worthwhile to consider keeping bees and harvesting my own honey. That, paired with the fact that my husband has called me “Sue Bee” (the name of a brand of honey) for years, cinched that beekeeping needed to become my hobby.

Bees are fascinating creatures. They live in a colony made up of worker bees, drones, and only one queen bee, and all play a specific role in the survival of the hive. All worker bees are female and literally work themselves to death. They are essential to a colony and have many different roles. To name a few jobs worker bees do:

  • Foragers: These bees leave the hive and bring back pollen and nectar.
  • Nurses: These bees feed larvae, as well as tend to and support the queen.
  • Temperature controllers: These bees ventilate the hive to ensure the honey temperature is right.
  • Builders: These bees keep the hive clean as well as provide wax to construct the hive.
  • Security guards: These bees defend the hive and keep out pests.

Who run the bee world? Girls!!

The male bees are called drones, and their only purpose is to fertilize new queens from another hive. Drones are very lazy, though. They like to stay in the hive and eat honey until the worker bees decide they’ve had enough and kick them out. Once a drone fertilizes a queen, it dies.

There’s also the most important bee in the hive – the queen bee. She’s the only member of the colony who lays fertilized eggs, and the other bees tend to her every need since she keeps the colony growing. She lays about 2,000 eggs a day and lives for 2 to 3 years if the hive stays healthy. Although every bee plays a different role, they’re all doing their jobs for one goal: ensuring survival of the colony.

A bee colony is like a team, with everyone working toward fulfilling a mission. But the hive must be healthy. If it’s not, the bees will leave or not survive (this actually happened with my first colonies). It reminds me a lot of the workplace. If your work environment isn’t healthy, you’re more likely to want to leave. Fortunately, bees can teach us a few lessons we can apply to our own lives.

#1: Trust the bees.

Lack of trust is the cause of many issues in the work environment. Although the bees have many different roles, they demonstrate and can teach us about trust. Bees build trust by taking care of each other and teaching each other. Simply stated, they have each other’s backs. As they develop and grow, they get promoted into bigger roles in their colony. If they run into an emergency, no matter their new role, they can always jump back in and help defend the hive. Bees also make sacrifices for the betterment of the hive. Worker bees die if they attack, as they use their stingers to protect. Drones die after they fertilize a queen. It’s important to trust your team and to make yourself vulnerable. Having trust as the foundation can make a strong, synergistic team.

#2: Don’t be like the drones! Work hard or buzz on out.

Drones have an important role to ensure the success of the bee population. However, most of their life, they just sit around and mooch off the hive while the worker bees are working hard. Drones do not clean the cells, they do not protect the hive, they do not make honey, they do not help with the temperature controls, they do not nurse the babies, and they do not go out and forage. They often stay in the hive, get in the way, and eat on the honey which should be stored up and saved to help the hive survive the winter. In the end, the worker bees kick the drones out once winter arrives.

Honeybees teach us to do our part and to work hard and diligently. Avoid being categorized as a drone and do your part! The Rock makes a good point: “Be humble, be hungry, and always be the hardest worker in the room”. Having that mindset sets you and your team to achieve great things.

#3: Communicate clearly, honey.

Bees communicate through movements and pheromones. In order for bees to let their “teammates” know where a good source of food is, they will do the waggle dance to share the location. If a worker bee uses its stinger, it sends out a smell that alerts the hive of an intruder, so then they all are aware. The queen sends out pheromones to communicate to the hive that she is alive and healthy. They know very quickly when she is not. Clear communication allows the hive to work as one strong operation. Without it, the bees would swarm. In the end, they all do their part to survive. At work, it’s important to communicate effectively and to create and reinforce clarity within your team. Doing this leads to happier team members and sets them up to work in a successful environment.

#4: Bee an advocate.

Bees will defend their hive and protect the queen at all costs. Not only do they secure the hive and have emergency plans in place, but they continue to train each other on the importance of survival. In the workforce, it is important to be an advocate for your company. We must defend against our competitors and continue to produce outstanding results to provide to our customers. Work hard, believe in the mission, live and breathe your company’s core values, and be proud of the company you protect and contribute great success to!

#5: Bee Mindful of the Mission

In the end, bees work hard to survive. Don’t we all? One of their main goals for survival is to produce honey and to continue storing it up to live on. Honey is not an easy product for bees to make. To make it, they swallow a full belly of nectar and then after a while, regurgitate it into a bee cell and control the temperature by flapping their wings to ensure it sets correctly. It’s a long process, however, honey has been around since ancient times and is still praised for its benefits and taste! To name a few benefits: helps relieve seasonal allergies, relieves coughs and colds, serves as an anti-bacterial agent, great for your skin, boosts your memory, provides nutrients to your body, boosts your metabolism, etc. The product is amazing!

We should learn from the bees. We want Daxko to be the ‘golden company’ throughout the health and wellness space, and we are well on our way! Like the bees, having a great, valuable product is important, but it is also important to love what you do and remember why you do it. Working with good people you trust, working hard and doing your part, having healthy communication among your team, and supporting and promoting your company help improve engagement. When you are engaged, you’re likely working in a healthy environment. When you’re working in a healthy environment, you’re likely to stay.

Not only do the bees help our environment, but they also teach us life lessons we can learn from and relate to. Save the bees and thank them for all they do! And if you want to learn more about beekeeping and have colonies of your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions.


Susan Walls is Daxko’s People Team Orchestrator who loves Jesus and her husband and daughters, enjoys karaoke and dancing, and likes picking out the perfect outfit for any occasion.

Process, the Perfect Team, and Psychological Safety

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In 2013, Sam Hinkie took the helm as the general manager of an ailing Philadelphia 76ers (basketball) team and established what people refer to now as “The Process”. The Process was a calculated and devised plan to, over the course of several years, get the best young talent to the land of brotherly love where they could ball out. But like all good things, the process took time and included several (terrible) losing seasons, backlash from fans, and ridicule by analysts.

Hinkie, despite the controversy surrounding his tactics, was committed to The Process. Every act that he took, every decision his front office made, and every trade that he conjured was centered on his end goal: winning basketball games and building a franchise. Unfortunately, Hinkie supporters ran out of patience, and in 2016, he was forced out just a season away from the process finally (hopefully) yielding its first fruits.

Unlike the 76ers, Daxko has been a solid organization for years. But the similarity they share with the 2013-2016 76ers is the conviction that process is vital to progress. Understanding process increases scope and vision for where and what we want to be. I joined the Customer Success Team during a rebuilding phase; people were changing roles and moving on to other things during a busy time of year. Trusting the process was not easy when the phones wouldn’t stop ringing and cases piled up. The urge to overcompensate with impulsive hirings or knee-jerk reactions to problems were tangible. But with time, our a resilient and committed team weathered the storm. As we rebuilt, we became more tenured and experienced and, through deliberate hirings, we became stronger in number and proficiency. Now, a year and half later, our squad is stacked.

In trusting our process, did we achieve what we aimed to do? I guess it depends. The process of building a good team may not be able to quantify the intangibles that comprise a great one. Google, a company who prides itself on process and vision, recently conducted a study to uncover the characteristics of a perfect team. The study (Project Aristotle), despite pouring over decades of social and psychological group behavior and case studies on Google employees, found it hard to determine exactly what makes a great team. What they came to realize is that the lack of consistent patterns was because great teams took so many different forms. Some teams were balanced across the board which helped equally distribute duties. Other teams’ strengths varied but were able to give teammates tasks that fit their skill set. All in all, they identified two behavior traits that ran through the variations of great teams. One was what researchers call “equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking” which is a fancy way of saying that everyone on the team spoke an equal amount during team meetings. The other was social sensitivity, which is when people are aware of nonverbal cues: tone of voice, body language, group dynamics, facial expression, etc.

These observations comprise parts of what is known as “psychological safety”. The article quotes Amy Edmondson, a professor at Harvard Business School, when she says psychological safety is a ‘‘shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.’’ Psychological safety is ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up … it describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.’’

It seems that for teams to succeed, there must be a good process in place to build for scale and growth, bring in all-stars, and craft a crew that can perform. But what may be the crux of impactful work, meaningful careers, and a successful team rests in the truth that to be excellent is to value those around you. Where work becomes excellent out of a sense of joy rather than a sense of fear, resilience replaces timidity, employees are teammates, and culture is a communal commitment to who we are and what we hope to be.


Sam G. is a Customer Success Advocate who enjoys slow mornings, coffee, and homemade waffles with his wife every Saturday.

Perpetually Evolving

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Room to Grow

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Every full-time team member at Daxko is given a significant stipend each year to use for their own professional development. As the leader of a growing company, it’s very important to me that each of us on the team, myself included, continue to grow personally in a rewarding career.

We don’t put a lot of stipulations on how each team member uses their professional development dollars, and that’s because every person’s career, goals, and definition of a rewarding career is going to differ slightly from the next person’s. Team members have used their professional development budget to travel to conferences, continue their formal education, take specific skill-related classes, join associations, earn further accreditations, and the list goes on. By allowing each team member to mold their own development, we allow them another degree of ownership in their career. Sense of ownership is a core value of ours at Daxko.

I recently attended a workshop in Chicago as part of my own professional development. I’m interested in how other successful companies work, so I took part in “The Basecamp Way to Work” event hosted by Jason Fried (Basecamp co-founder & CEO) and Ryan Singer (Strategy at Basecamp). They have a pretty radical work concept with most of their team being remote. As Daxko grows, it’s important to me that our remote team members have an exceptional experience and rewarding career to the same degree that our in-office team members do. So, for me, this was a valuable learning experience.

What professional development channels would be most constructive for you? No matter your role, none of us have “arrived”. We all have room to grow. I challenge you to consider your career, how you would like to see it grow, and then identify your next steps in professional development.