Greedy, lazy and stuck in a rut!: the link between corporate culture and a sick society

Heart disease is a major killer in modern (particularly Western) society. Modern lifestyles – lack of exercise, poor diet, stress – are, undoubtedly, factors and the outward signs MAY, eventually, become apparent.

Not too many years ago we “got smart”, we learned about cholesterol. What it was were it came from and the damage it did to the body by clogging vital pathways.

Processed foods – those that have been modified by us to extract maximum return – are high in “bad” cholesterol [LDL & Lp(a)], affect the performance of the body [system] and do serious, long term, damage.

So, let’s say you are short on energy, fatigued, overweight or unable to perform life’s daily tasks as effectively as you should. You go to your Doctor  tell him/her the symptoms and your version of the truth about lifestyle.


What about if the system “under stress” is your business?

A business is a system, like the human body. It is reliant upon its component parts and its ecosystem (Supply chain) communicating and working interdependently to enable it to perform.

Business systems suffer from their own version of cholesterol…it’s called…COMPLEXITY.

Like the human body a business needs complexity – “natural” complexity is what facilitates system functions – but it too has a threshold. In proximity to “critical complexity” the system becomes unstable, unpredictable and difficult to manage. If you think about it you will recognise that scenario. It can manifest itself as a form of paralysis – too many issues or deadlines and the inability to know which issue needs tackled first – blind panic, or that desire to get as far away as possible!

A business cannot function beyond the point of “critical complexity” without losing functionality. The system fails. Sometimes, as in the case of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, spectacularly: You may recall much talk around the “man-made” complexity of the products and greed that brought about their demise.

The operational effectiveness, robustness [resilience] or overall health of a business cannot be measured from independent KPI’s or by sampling financial data [in accordance with international accounting standards].

What is the yardstick for success?: figures from the previous month or year; benchmarking against competitors

The business is an interdependent system and needs to be viewed as such.

If business units are underperforming it is preferable to know in advance and address issues rather than see it manifest in accounts

Complexity, like cholesterol, is in itself a major source of risk.

If you can’t identify it, you can’t measure and manage it…remember it can be terminal!

The business operates within a its own ecosystem

You want to know that the businesses with whom you deal are “healthy” and to demonstrate your own health

Cholesterol and Complexity are very real threats. We know about and are able to measure both as a result of scientific advancements. So IF you are concerned about falling performance of your business – find out the current level of complexity and, from the data that it generates, about strengths and weaknesses  – or want to know that it can be managed at a safe distance from its point of “critical complexity”  in a tough trading climate PLEASE DON’T waste time and money on a, so called, business health check that doesn’t test for complexity.

I would urge you to ask your Accountant, Risk or Quality Manager (whether in-house or outsourced), Insurance broker or any external Consultants what they are doing to ensure your business is, currently and remains, free from excessive complexity. WHEN they admit that they cannot provide what you need ask them to get in touch with me or do so directly. It will be my pleasure to help.

Whatever you do DON’T DO NOTHING!

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