Friday, April 2, 2010
The Business Enterprise: A Living Organism
The other day, as I was viewing a city skyline at night, a thought "hit" me. Instead of seeing it as consisting of some sort of distant inanimate objects, it occurred to me what's in front of me is a form of symbiotic relationship between man and steel, where each structure is very much like a living breathing organism, say as in humans.
As in humans, these structures were in various shapes and sizes. And for each some type of inputs occurred, those inputs underwent various processes resulting in variety of outputs--which then became inputs for another series of structures. In that sense, various entities which at first appeared to be independent of each other were actually interconnected.
Furthermore, metaphorically speaking, these structures were like the human bodies, where the outer is what we could see. And as in the body, where the decisions, actions and outcomes are determined by the central brain and the quality of those are a function of the mental clarity and health, within each enterprise it is the senior most leader and the leadership team that determines the decisions and actions of the enterprise, with the outcomes being directly related it's mental clarity and health.
Going deeper within, the furniture, the technologies, machines, and other various items represented the bone structure which supports life. And as in living forms where the nervous systems transmits signals and damage to the nervous system can lead to paralysis, within the enterprise, breakdown in communication has similar impacts. In my experience, the business' nervous system can be deteriorated an damaged by miscommunication, conflicts, misunderstandings, and breaks in communication channels, so too can it be restored to health which can be accomplished by improving communications which often occurs with improved understanding of self and others .
In addition, the movement of materials and information occurs through various processes and systems which is similar to blood carrying oxygen, nutrients and waste products. And similar to the organs in the being, in the business they are the various business functions, divisions and departments and breakdown or malfunction within any one organ can impact the entire system. Finally, as food energizes humans, the entire business enterprise is energized by humans who are natures batteries. Then as in batteries, they come in various sizes, power level, function, and shapes and therefore to most effectively harness and utilize these power sources, they must be properly matched to the system and the entire system must be in tip top shape to optimize performance.
Finally, for the human body to maintain optimum health, it must be well fed, regularly exercised, undergo regular checkups, and cured when necessary. Still, sickness and deterioration occurs. Therefore, as in the human system, when problems occur in the enterprise, before prescribing any cure, the problem must be viewed within the framework of the entire system, diagnostics must be run, ti eradicate the root cause for optimum performance.
I don't think I'll ever view another skyline, or even just a stand alone structure, the same way again.