An Organism vs. an Organization

Published on August 2, 2003

Here’s a question for the modern day leader? Does your company represent an organism or an organization? Hopefully, you will have answered organism.

An organism is an entity that lives and breathes on it’s own. It’s health and ability to survive depends on the how well the organs (departments) are working. Just as in human beings, a business that is bloated finds it hard to properly respond to market threats. The old adage of “lean and mean” applies to both business and individuals.

The tendency of humans in this day and age is to exercise to keep in shape in order to meet the challenges of life.

Companies and institutions must do the same thing. They must constantly keep exercising their muscles and organs. This means assessing which parts of the organization are working well and those that are not adequately performing.

Look at each individual in your group as a cell and look at your department as an organ. If one individual cell disappears, you can probably live with that. But if that cell becomes disenchanted and decides to rebel and recruit other cells, you now have the beginning of a cancer. If you can identify the non-performers early on and give them skills and tools to turn things around, you will have limited the potential for disease. If you do nothing and let things go unchecked, then every part of the business starts to suffer. When this happens and it spreads to the customer, you could be entering a terminal state.

A business or institution is only as good as the collective effort of all employees. If every employee is properly matched to the job, given the right tools, and is highly motivated to succeed, you have a vibrant and strong organism. It becomes a life that is breathing, healthy and hard to take down.

So, what’s the state of your organism? If you think your company is not as vibrant as it should be, what’s your prognosis and prescription? If you wait too long, it just may be too late.

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