What makes an organism a perfect system? The simple answer: Every cell has access to all information and there is clear and complete communication happening all the time, at every level.
Every cell understands the worthy and magical mission it supports: The experience of life. This makes a natural organism the most efficient value creation machine in the universe. Everything is in a constant and total flow, and nothing that is unnatural to it can trouble this flow. Because of this, the body is complete and holistic. There is no need to add other organs or to pervert them into taking on roles that are unnatural to the entire system. It is completely self-sufficient in its operations and adapts perfectly to changing circumstances without jeopardizing its central objective.
If only our businesses were built this way. Even though “leaders” will use the analogy of an organism in entrepreneurship, almost every aspect of an organism is being ignored. Our organizations fail to develop a worthy plan that is shared with every cell within the system. In our transactional business culture, the only thing the departments know is that the system exists to make money.
Every department has to support this goal by decreasing costs and overhead all in the name of increased profitability. The great idea that holds every piece together is a financial equation, which is not the kind of information organs can run on. It kills the flow because it is not something cells, or people, care enough about to engage in. Without a worthy human mission under your belt, it is clear that the glue that is supposed to make organs work in tandem starts to crack and fall apart.
Friction increases and departments start to fight their own war, the lack of a clear purpose is replaced with pointless productivity. The blame for missed revenue targets gets passed around, but victories are claimed by the specific departments that close the deal. Whatever happens, there is never a true sense of unity, because the reason that brought people together is an inhuman one.
No one will stand up and support or fight for such an organism because the only thing they can identify with is a paycheck, and they can get that at another company. If a cell stands in the deepest interrelation with the body it is a part of, the modern worker is only a visitor benefitting from momentary circumstances awarded by the business she or he is a part of.
Such a business is a sick laboratory experiment at best. It has a pulse, but no heart. It has a brain, but no mind. A transactional business is the Frankenstein of all value entities. It might be growing and present itself with impressive numbers, but inside it is dead and hollow, plagued by relentless fluctuation, poor loyalty and interdepartmental friction excesses.
We keep these businesses alive and try to extend their life, by injecting them with booster shots: Influencer marketing, PR stunts, corporate social responsibility campaigns, fundraisers, social equality promises, chief spiritual officers, ethics seminars, free yoga sessions and mental health counseling services and so on… all these first aid efforts are signs that we are trying to “heal” a body that is sick at the cell level rather than investing in building entities that have all these things naturally built in them because they run on a human-based, meaningful premise.
A healthy system doesn’t need to rectify its culture and learn about ethics, it doesn’t need to beautify its mission statement, it doesn’t need to recruit cultural watchdogs and teach its employees how to behave correctly. It doesn’t need to win in court, fight unionizing or seek incentives to attract talent.
All these things come naturally in a system that is set up to create meaningful human value as its mission. Value that people align with, that people agree with, where people don’t think in silos but in a common effort that is beautiful and important.
In such a system, departments are value contributors who understand that they need each others’ support to complete the full picture. And because everybody has access to all the information, the value that unites them all, communication becomes effortless as egos diminish.
This leads to even better value deployment and stronger relationships with the people the organization touches until all the moving parts melt into one living, breathing organism experiencing the magic of life through a business.
P.S. Thanks for reading. Remember, if you ever want to talk about the topics I discuss or come up to our Lake Arrowhead entrepreneurship gatherings, email or call me at firstname.lastname@example.org; 213-310-6207.