Wednesday, April 5, 2017


We like to think our organizations can run just like well-oiled machines, but that’s aiming too low.

Machine metaphors linger in business, from the clockwork universe to “cookie cutter” management. But though machine metaphors were undoubtedly useful in the past, they’re wearing out.

We are coming to appreciate that a business, and the economy as a whole, has more in common with a biological organism--a dynamic, interdependent system of living things that interact to produce a functioning stable whole. As Arie de Geus, the former head of global planning for Royal Dutch/Shell, has put it: “Organizations are not national” Gain greater efficiency from your business by shaping policies, structures, and systems to reflect that it is made up of people, not machines.