Complexity:: Strategy and the ‘threatened’ business model


It would be wrong to say that I am in total agreement with the content of this article but that is simply because, courtesy of Ontonix, I hold an ‘informational advantage’! That is because, of course, it is a great deal easier to identify which products, services or aspects of the operation are dragging the model down when you can, objectively, identify sources of internal [endogenous] risk and measure their impact upon the stability [or resilience] of a complex system.

But there is a lot of good stuff that I would highly recommend. Particularly for those readers who have already determined (subjectively) that any downward trend is temporary, a result of ‘bad’ luck/timing, financial volatility or unforeseeable uncertainty. Of course, you may be right but you COULD be wrong and your inaction might only be exacerbating the problem…or accelerating the rate of decline.

I dread to think how much valuable resource is wasted by organisations treating symptoms that are self-generated. John Seddon, a leading ‘Systems Thinker’, talks (with some humour) about the need to address the right problem instead of, inadvertently, creating more "failure demand". It would be fair to say that with an understanding of the complexity of business systems – aided of course by a means to identify and address sources of risk and uncertainty – even the business owners, without whom the organisation may not have come into being, can learn a great deal about a business they feel they know intimately.

But this ‘mistress’ has secrets that will remain hidden unless they are coaxed out…

Business ecosystem

The Gravity of Risk Can Slowly Crush Business Models

Executives must proactively assess their business model, and do so on a regular basis. What was once a great business engine can grow less viable years later because it has become outdated or ineffective due to market shifts or new developments in industry’s business environmental conditions. It is the course all businesses must run, facing the need to change along the way in order to survive.

Risks are about events that, when triggered, cause problems. Hence, risk identification can start with the source of problems, or with the problem itself. It is important to remember that risks emanate from threats, but the manifestations are much broader and may be internal or external to the organization.

Strategy and the Threatened Business Model | Corporate Strategic Planning | Strategic Planning Articles and Resources | Management Consulting Services Firm | Business Strategy Consulting.

John Seddon [video]:: Target Obsession Disorder laid bare.


John Seddon explains why targets make organisations worse and controlling costs makes costs higher. If you’re in management or in executive leadership you desperately need to watch this and know it, understand it and listen to it. For the benefit of yourself, those around you and those that interact with you business.

John breaks out why targets make organisations worse and controlling, or managing costs, actually makes them higher. He explains, in a rather entertaining way, why the public sector along with the private sector is doing horribly compared to what they should be doing…a bi-product of  ‘conventional ignorance’.

This elegant dissection of the organisational madness that pervades our culture was given at the 2009 conference of the Human Givens Institute.

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Agile or fragile?:: organizational complexity is a waste farm


This article is another example of a lesson for Organizations to be prepared for “exaptation”. I have mentioned (more than once!) about the “universality of systems” and that, organizations that are “too busy chopping wood to sharpen the axe” are doing themselves and their stakeholders a great dis-service. Why not consider and embrace, tried and tested, solutions from other sectors and disciplines…instead of sticking to management structures, that were designed to oversee people and linear processes…in the (now past) Industrial era?

15-Global ChallWe are now inter-connected components in a “Knowledge Economy”, existing in the Digital Age. The most successful Complex systems are those with an interdependent Operational Structure to “support” the effective exchange of information.

Even when unseen, we now appreciate the importance of effective information-flow within and among networks of systems. Although I vaguely recall reading that this isn’t a direct quote from Charles Darwin (I am happy to leave others to investigate that) THE message is clear. He wasn’t talking about organizations per se but he was talking about biological systems:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.

Yeah we ALL know how tough trading is in the current climate! So, why exacerbate the problem by failing to observe information from the environment?

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