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Org Charts, Adaptation and Survival: The Corporate Hunger Games

Posted by Eric Apps

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50 years ago, In its April, 1966 issue, Time Magazine’s controversial “Is God Dead?” magazine cover appeared, provoking controversy across America; at the same time capturing the zeitgeist of the “swinging sixties” era.

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I was reminded of the power of simple - this one was rated after all as one of the 10 magazine covers that have changed the world - as I pondered a blog post last week from Aaron Dignan proclaiming the death of org charts.

At Organimi, we're focused on creating the world’s best online org charts to help our clients organize their workplaces and connect with their workplace colleagues as our sole (and soul) mission.  With almost 40,000 organizations from around the world now using Organimi, and some recent accolades under our belt from FitSmallBusiness.com we hope we're on the right track.  But, needless to say, that headline caught our attention!

We were even further concerned to read Boston Consulting Group’s recent research report on "The Biology of Corporate Survival".  They investigated the longevity of more than 30,000 public firms in the United States over that same 50-year time span.  Spoiler alert:  apparently God and org charts are not alone on Death Highway.

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Large corporations are themselves going the way of the dinosaur.  The authors conclude:  "The results are stark: Businesses are disappearing faster than ever before." 

One quote in particular caught our attention:

"Although we may perceive corporations as enduring institutions, they now die, on average, at a younger age than their employees. And the rise in mortality applies regardless of size, age, or sector. Neither scale nor experience guards against an early demise."

Time Magazine’s 1966 cover story remains provocative…..despite the fact that the past 50 years has demonstrated, in spades, the staying power of religion around the globe.  God appears to be quite alive, thank you very much.

In the same vein, we were encouraged to learn on investigation that Aaron Dignan’s click-bait death of org charts title lead in fact to a discussion about the bright future he sees for the lowly org chart, a vision that we have shared and been pursuing at Organimi for some time now.

Will "Is the Multinational Mindset Dead"? be the next big headline.  The irony of corporate deaths, expressed in terms of  biodiversity and species extinction, was not lost on us, since people who are environmentally inclined tend to lay the blame for the world's environmental ills largely at the feet of these same (large) corporations.

BCG's research describes the needs of corporations wishing to avoid this fate to better understand the risks to their survival, and provides some cool tools to help them self-assess.

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Among many other themes, BCG explores the need for organizations to adapt their strategies, capabilities and behaviors to today's dynamic and rapidly evolving business environment,  

The whole notion of applying the theme of "biodiversity" - and its antithesis - species extinction to corporations as they seek to adapt in today's increasingly hostile environment is powerful stuff!

One key tip is for organizations to clearly understand how they are creating value for other stakeholders in their ecosystems. 

At Organimi we have written in past blogs about the need to embrace connectedness and transparency in organizational design, as well as taking a significantly broader view of the organization and its boundaries.  

As BCG's research suggests this is not just sentimental nonsense...increasingly it is a matter of survival.

Just as John Donne famously penned the we're-all-connected notion that "no man is an island", so too it seems for corporations, especially large ones, recognizing and strengthening interdependence is a key success factor.

Who are the key players in your ecosystem, and what does your extended organizational design look like?  How are your team members connecting to and collaborating with others across your value chain to create more value for everyone.  At Organimi, we like to think that by providing flexible organizational design tools that enable you to create and share the organizational architectures underpinning your business ecosystem we are helping in some way.

As the old saying goes, being alive is great, especially when compared to the alternatives. So if you are thinking about investing some time in the future survival of your company, you may want to grab a list of your extended team  and get them connected and organized on Organimi.

Go to Organimi

 

As always thanks for reading.

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 The Organimi Team

 

 

 

Topics: org charts

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Organimi is a technology startup based out of Waterloo, ON. On our blog we discuss topics like:

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