Think of your company as a living organism.
Your body including the nervous system and brain are the most complex functioning systems in the world.
Yet, what is fascinating about it is how it works without your conscious intention of it.
You don’t control your gastric system when you are digesting food, or the oxygen and carbon molecules that enter your lungs. Your body automatically does it for you, this is how you have been designed.
All the different parts of your body work simultaneously together, performing effortlessly in which providing both comfort and growth.
Now, think of the most successful business you know of. The same principles apply.
The organization that works like a living breathing organism is the one that outperforms others that aren’t cohesive.
From the very beginning of your business, it’s like a child being born into this world. The body is learning everything quickly, adjusting and evolving.
According to the California Department of Education in an article last updated in 2016, Ages and Stages of Development, the learning style, and development of a child is dependent on the age of the child.
From early stages of development, the child is learning to understand how things work and how to get what they need ie. food, water, attention. The child gathers information through the sensory receptors.
Your body and brain in its early stages don’t stop evolving, learning and understanding new things through new experiences.
Your business in its early stages goes through the same sensory learning process, testing how the market responds to your product and service receiving feedback, adjusting and evolving to the needs of the customers.
Learning the practice of your business, how the regulations work, how the operating systems work.
We as humans are designed to improve and find the fastest and easiest route to accomplish what we set out to do.
This happens throughout the whole life of your organization and that of a human being.
The child then grows to be a teenager, where there is another growth spurt, being influenced by friends and family.
As does your organization, being influenced by external factors, such as the businesses or vendors that you work with that supply your technological needs such as printing, banking, customers, competitors.
When the organization keeps growing you can imagine that the integral parts such as marketing, sales, HR are like the lungs, stomach, and heart of a body.
And the more people you add to your organization they become the smaller parts contributing to the larger scope. They eventually become the blood cells and the good bacteria.
You must evolve to survive
Just like the body ages and eventually, dies, so do the systems and organizations
Now more than ever the organization that does not evolve quickly, like the humans have been over millennia will eventually be disrupted and become irrelevant by ones that cater to the market and environments changing needs.
Shortening the life cycle of the business by suffocating it from the stubbornness of not wanting to change.
Your organization can preserve its life by maturing slower, ‘drinking from the fountain of youth’, remaining like a child with a beginner’s mind, not making assumptions but instead testing and trying what works, receiving feedback and continuing a growth trajectory.
So to can the aging mind that continually is being challenged to avoid symptoms such as Alzheimer’s or the body that is eating healthy and exercising regularly.
Think of the organs of the body as you are building your team. Going from one owner and employee to building a small team of people. All of which must work together.
As soon as there is a misalignment, the organization stops its growth until the problem is fixed by either removing the individual who is misaligned or coaching them through.
When you think of bacteria you think of it as a virus in the body, it attaches itself to one bad blood cell that spreads to another creating a virus in the organism.
Viruses act as its own functioning organisms.
Your organization will encounter viruses as well. They occur when you hire people that aren’t aligned with the heart of the organization, those who carry forward the mission, purpose, and values.
Or there are external viruses like a competitor encroaching on your industry and disrupting like Uber has done for taxis, Air B and B for hotels, Facebook ads for traditional advertising.
The good news is that for the body there are antidotes to help stop the spread of a virus.
Going away on trips you get injected with bacteria so that your body develops immunity to avoid getting sick abroad.
This is how the best organizations work, continually testing and breaking in new ways making the company evolve, building immunity in the marketplace by injecting its people with the antidote of the organization’s purpose.
Putting the attention than where the virus is you develop antibodies, this is the understanding of the need for constant change.
Build your organization in an interwoven fashion so that it works like the mechanisms of a body.
A transparent and consistent form of communication like the nervous system sending signals between the brain and the body.
An effortless function between the teams in the organization, helping each other to get through obstacles like the body digesting food.
Lastly, thinking is where the magic happens. Neuroscientists haven’t yet discovered where the thought occurs, there are neurons firing signals to one another, but as a thought arises and perishes neuroscientists only know the region of the brain in which a thought has possibly transpired.
“Although we are dependent on the function of the brain for our lives, it runs it’s own show. Most of it’s operations are above scrutiny clearance of the conscious mind. The I simple has no right of entry.” Incognito by David Eagleman
In an organization, you understand the moving parts, what HR, sales, marketing, product development do, what their purpose is, but you do not know how they act as each individual, where the creative spark happens in order to make it all function together.
The synopsis is hidden under the deep layers of the organization’s talent.
You know who the A players are, but how they do what they do to make themselves A player remains this mysterious yet impressive performance, this is like the thinking that occurs in humans.
It is undeniable that how you function as a human is captivating if you look at every single moving part. Assign each new member into your organization’s functions so that it cohesively acts as one unit.
To conclude, it is a beautiful and powerful analogy to see the organization as an organism. Understanding how each part works and what processes you must put in place so that they work seamlessly, yet together disrupting the path that you are creating.
Breathe as one.