Company as an organism

  It is easy for people to forget one thing: As an organization, a company, and any enterprise or institution composed of human activities, it is actually an organism, and therefore, like any organism, it has a life course of birth, aging, sickness and death—unhealthy and unable to adapt to environmental dynamics. Changing organizations are prone to decline, while those with strong self-adjustment capabilities can continue to radiate new vitality in the “evolution” and achieve sustainable development.
  Many domestic companies are obsessed with scale, but in reality, it is not necessarily “big to fail”, because huge scale is not the same thing as the vitality of an organization. In human history, the empire can be regarded as one of the most complex social organizations, but the American scholar Joseph Taint studied hundreds of cases of the collapse of civilization in the book “The Collapse of a Complex Society” and came to the conclusion: Complexity and largeness do not necessarily ensure that it wins in the competition. Instead, it is often the more flexible emerging fringe organizations (such as the Republic of Venice) that show stronger competitive advantages. The trend of organizational evolution is not scale, but depends on the vitality brought about by its evolutionary ability. Otherwise, it should not be us human beings but the dinosaurs that rule the earth.
  Even the empire is like this, not to mention the enterprise. Jeffrey West concluded in the book “Scale”: The half-life of listed companies in the United States is only 10.5 years. In other words, about half of listed companies will disappear within almost ten years. This may be a good thing for the market as a large system, because it means that “new species” that are constantly more competitive and stronger will emerge and maintain a vigorous metabolism. It also forces the companies that have been at the forefront to upgrade and replace them. As far as the organization itself is concerned, it means huge evolutionary pressure, and a little carelessness may be ruthlessly eliminated.
  Indeed, business organizations need to face a more complex and volatile market environment. No one dares to say that they can be invincible forever-especially in a risky society. It is not scale and opportunity that can truly fight risks and turn crises into opportunities. Resources are inherent in the adaptability of the organization. In an open system, since monopoly cannot be used to suppress other competitors, the only way is to diagnose the health of the organization in time and maintain the vitality of the organization forever.
  To fully understand this, it is necessary for us to introduce biological and ecological perspectives into the logic of business, rather than just regard the organization as a tool and a machine for achieving business goals. As large as a country, as small as a company or a family, the evolution of complex organisms ultimately depends on giving full play to the initiative and initiative of the individual, because the competitiveness of an organization lies in the effective coordination of its internal units through strength Organic combination stimulates creativity.
  It is not easy to do this, because it first means that everyone in the organization must change their minds and regard the organization as a complex ecology. Although many business decision makers have realized the importance of building an organizational ecology in recent years, it is necessary to point out that “ecology” cannot be accomplished by top-down instructions, but needs to let it “grow” and “evolve” spontaneously. “This means to fully release the creativity of the members, and at the same time always keep an open mind to future changes, rather than just sailing along the determined goals.
  In today’s post-epidemic era, the issue of organizational vitality has become more important and serious than ever. Facing an environment of increasing uncertainty, more and more companies have shifted their focus from expansion and growth to stability and safety. However, as the economist John Hicks once lamented when talking about competition among large organizations, “when the ability to expand disappears, the ability to recover from disasters will also disappear.” This is the time when leadership is the most tested, not only because any leading organization needs more than just “live”, but also “live better”, and because when you lose the “live better” When you are capable, it is very likely that you will not be able to “live”.