In the not too distant past, here in most parts of Nigeria, a look through the window or a walk to the backyard will reveal anthills that dotted our landscapes. The question to ask is what has happened to these beauties of nature. The sad reality is that they are all gone. Gone with rapid urbanisation that has no regards to nature.
An anthill is a mound of earth formed by a colony of ants. Anthills may grow up to a meter tall and two meters across and consist of interconnected chambers, which are connected by tunnels. There are rooms for nurseries, mating, storing food, and even as resting places for the worker ants.
There are well over 11,000 species of ants worldwide most of which reside in hot climates. Ants are insects belonging to the family Formicidae, within the order Hymenoptera. They are members of the family of social insects, which means they live in organised colonies and are one of the most successful groups of insects in the animal kingdom.
Anthills not only add to the beauty of nature, there are many lessons we can learn from studying the behaviour of ants and their colony.
One of such lesson is teamwork. In the anthill, everyone is clear as to the purpose of the team and feels as part of the team. The amazing truth about this is that though, they have no clearly defined leader, yet they work with such effective relationship. Communication within the team is clear and open to achieve the eventual goal through the input of team members while effectively engaging the skills of each team member. Within the anthill, each member of the team must make the overall vision a matter of absolute commitment.
The assignment of different tasks to different people in order to improve efficiency is otherwise known as division of labour and this is effectively put to use within the anthill. In the anthill and like in the corporate world, because growth and output must be achieved, members are assigned to specific areas of duty and the ability to carry out their duty makes the organisation to achieve more.
Focus is key for ants to effectively run the anthill’s colony. Even when “they have been drawn away or swept away” from their goal, they come back to it until the goal is achieved. Ants are so focussed that even if they travel a mile, they know their way back home. Focus requires keeping an organised life and having a clearly defined objective as the ants do in running their kingdom – the anthill.
Unity, experts concurred is simply oneness of mind, harmony or agreement. Ants work in unity – harmony. Peace and unity are an absolute essential for an effective delivery of service within the colony as it is in the corporate setting. Effectiveness in unity requires zero tolerance for “grumbling, complaining, gossip and strife.” In fact, Unity makes us a winning team.
Have you wondered how the ants are able to effectively run and govern their colony? Researchers have found as many as 10 million ants within anthill. This is simply like running a large organisation or running a nation and yet everyone has to fit in and plays its part. The poser here is how do you build and effectively run a large organisation? “Have the ability to make decisions that may be unpleasant to others but would help in the direction of the goal of the organisation?” Huge question!
Ants are known to have incredible managerial skills. They gather food during the months of dry season in order to be able to have enough during the raining season when they hibernate. This is key to entrepreneurial success in the socio – economic world.
Constancy of purpose otherwise known as persistency is a major lesson to learn in studying the behaviour of ants. They never give up and they never stop. Leadership experts agreed that the secret of success is the constancy of purpose.
As an ancient saying goes, “what makes up an anthill is the effort and order of determined and organised termites” To make our world a better planet, we too must do likewise. Here in LUFASI, a 20-hectare urban forest in the midst of a densely populated Lekki Peninsula of Lagos, is one of the last remaining green belts in the state and is home to several anthills dotting the beautiful landscape. LUFASI also houses several species including the Critically Endangered (IUCN) Hooded Vulture – Necrosyrtes monachus, the Ekki iron wood tree – Lophira alata and others. Visit LUFASI to behold these beauties of nature and let us join hands to protect these wonders of nature!