The 7 Flaws Of Regenerative Enterprises

The 7 Flaws Of Regenerative Enterprises

Posted by · on November 18, 2014 · in Uncategorized · with Comments Off

In a blog article released on HBR is a short piece that has, at last, answered the question of “How do we build a company to last a thousand years?”

What?  You’ve never asked yourself that question?

…Join the queue…

The model offered is simple, comes straight from a laboratory-environment and is not overly helpful.  Or even needed.

You can find it here: https://hbr.org/2014/11/the-7-laws-of-regenerative-enterprises

The authors offer you 3 sections of principles to apply and build yourself a company “that thrives forever” – unquote.

There’s a whole argument to be laid out about NOT needing to build a company to last forever, and instead building companies that last long enough and are replaced by a new company… if necessary a new one owned by some of the same players, but reinvented to new technologies, new needs, new markets etc.

…But we’ll leave that argument to others.

Instead, let’s query their lab-coat principles –

Humanity:

1. The Law of Potential: Only the enterprise that unleashes potential, through meeting its workers’ innate needs, induces human engagement to its fullest.

Response: But not all workers recognise their needs.  Not all workers are self-driven, yearning business machines in their own right.  And they don’t have to be. The model is too simple.  Potential is often stoked, played off with others, encouraged by managers, waxes and wanes and is often never fully realised.  It doesn’t stop people being happy, companies being successful.

2. The Law of Meaning: Only the enterprise that infuses meaning, through a shared purpose, effects alignment among fully engaged workers.

Response: Frankly, the world is full of companies, including long-standing ones, thriving on individuals who are not perfectly aligned to a shared purpose other than turning up, getting along, working well, getting home.  For some, work is a part-time exercise, especially in the modern digital age to which this article ostensibly gears itself.

Activities:

3. The Law of Creativity: Only the enterprise that liberates creativity, through applying intuition and exercising free will, regularly discovers opportunities for surprising wealth-producing innovations.

Response: Free will is powerful, but not always directed, aligned to a strategy, useful, profitable or relevant.  Something and somebody needs to judge creativity, weigh it up and apply it or not.

4. The Law of Learning: Only the enterprise that invigorates learning – through exploring, exploiting, and orchestrating – generates the knowledge necessary to persistently create new value among infinite possibilities.

Response: The possibilities are not, nor do they need to be, infinite.  A few are all we need.  And much learning is done in fits, bursts, corporate or personal.  Revolutions and not evolutions are common, and variables exist far outside the company that can be utilised without a constant trickle of learning.

5. The Law of Humanity: Only the enterprise that enriches humanity, through the knowledge embedded in its business activities, creates offerings of unquestionable economic value.

Response: A company that contains its strengths and holds them close may be just as valid.  Provided it’s profitably delivering a valued product or service, it is of economic value.  A company might unprofitably deliver great corporate citizenship and fail in longevity.  Judgement is needed.

6. The Law of Vitality: Only the enterprise that attains vitality, through its incessant destructive recreation, produces the wealth necessary to survive.

Response: There is value in longevity, history and sameness at the core of some companies that have been critical to their success.

The Enterprise:

7. The Law of Coherence: Only the enterprise that sustains coherence in all its aspects, through ongoing orchestration, regenerates itself to thrive indefinitely.

Response: Some companies fragment, reform and lose parts of themselves.  They can do this profitably.  Some must in order to survive.  Most never have all parts of the company orchestrated and equally strong (read the poem ‘The One Hoss Shay”).  But if they did, they might well be enjoying the kind of orchestration and judgement that might be seen to fly in the face of the Law of Creativity.

…In short, the article dreams a dream that is unrealistic, but in another argument for another day not even necessary.

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