Secrets of business and organisational longevity

Thanks to Dinesh Tantri for pointing me to an interesting article on cnn.com way back in 1999 entitled "The organic enterprise thrives on your knowledge" which got me thinking about "organisational longevity". [Originally Published June 2005].

Ancient ForestImage: http://www.unbc.ca

The article explores one of the fundamental, but often forgotten reasons why organisations, enterprises, teams and communities should adopt biological principles - they will live much longer if they do!

"Companies, like any species, are organic entities whose survival requires carving out a territory within a dynamic ecosystem. They are not -- as some executives and consultants claim -- machines that can be reengineered, reorganized or reprogrammed"

Referencing "Bionomics: Economy as Ecosystem" by Michael Rothschild, 1990, the author scorns technology companies without any long-term plan and whose "entire reason for being was to sell out to Microsoft".

This was, as we all now know, a chillingly accurate prediction of the dot.com crash which was still a year or so away (early 2000).

Arie de Geus writing in The Living Company explains how even the Fortune 500 companies don't generally make it beyond 50 years because their underlying model of operation becomes more economic than biological.

A notable exception to the 50-year rule is Du Pont which started off as a "purveyor of gunpowder" and has achieved the distinction of being one of the "world's oldest continuously operating companies" through a "mastery of continuous adaption and evolution".

So if you want to achieve longevity in your business enterprises and teams the price you have to pay is operating on biological principles like all living systems.



About Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson delivers keynote conference speeches, workshop facilitation and in-house consultancy in four key business areas:

  1. Creating High Performing Teams in enterprises including Virtual and Mobile Teams (based on the Bioteams Book)
  2. Establishing effective Collaborative Business Networks enabling companies to co-operate effectively in areas such as sales and product development (based on the book - The Networked Enterprise)
  3. How to use the latest social media technologies including blogging and online communities to promote enterprises, brand, organisation or event
  4. Development of graphical on-line interactive Business Dashboards and What-if Simulators for organisations to support Performance Improvement, Strategy Development and Executive Team Development.


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Ken, great presentation at the Collaboration Event in London. I have used the ecosystems approach in my book on transformation of financial services (sold out in hard copy but available as PDfs. I will forward the link) and one of the books I use a lot is a book by James F. Moore "The death of competition". He also wrote a lot of interesting articles on the Web. And we are also using a similar approach in team-building training.

I have almost finished an eBook on winning and sharing online in membership-sites and online niche markets/communities. They also evolve as dynamic ecosystems.

Greetings,
Tony

 


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