What enables your organisation to thrive. It could be an ngo, club, enterprise, city or country. A living organisation is one that responds appropriately to its environment.Organisations that do not appropriately respond, struggle. 

Ultimately they cease to exist because the energy they consume in maintaining their existence is greater than the energy they have available.  The result is bankruptcy in all its forms from financial to good will and the human spirit.

The organisation’s environment consists of who and what it is in relationship with, from those who work in the organisation to customers or members, suppliers, the societies it functions in to the natural environment.

The energy consumed is often measured by the amount of money available.
The ultimate energy is human energy in the forms of inspiration, motivation, creative ability, the ability to think and conceive ideas to physical energy. Because these human energies are difficult  to measure, they are usually ignored, yet they are responsible for all human progress. When these are ignored it makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for an organisation to respond responsibly.

What defines an appropriate response?  Firstly, it is a response that allows the organisation to survive. Secondly, it supports the development of the organisation for it to be well and to perform its purpose well.  Examples of appropriate responses are:

Organisations that support those who work for them to be their best, doing their best. Organisations that support their customers or members, suppliers, the societies they function in and the natural environment to be well and to do well.

When organisations do this, they get supported by those they support.

In-appropriate responses include exploitation in all its forms including paying too little to charging too much.

Keys to enable your organisation to thrive and do extraordinarily well:

  1. Know well who and what your organisation is in relationship with … the organisation’s stakeholders. Put yourself in their shoes. Understand their needs, values, purposes, circumstances and aspirations.
  2. Listen carefully to the people in your organisation who are connecting to your stakeholders.
  3. Make these people part of the organisations decision-making processes.
  4. Give and get feedback. This enables your organisation and your stakeholders to respond in the best way, to the right degree and at the right time.

We will look at how this works. In one of my companies, by my spending at least one or two days a week with customers and listening to our people who were talking to customers and suppliers, we were five years ahead of other firms in the same field. These were very large, internationally spread companies.
Why? Those managing them stayed in their top floor offices and did not talk with their people on the ground floor or with customers. The result, although they had huge resources at their disposal, they were unable to respond appropriately or quickly enough. In contrast, our productivity per person employed was three to five times greater. Large size is no measure of an organisations ability to survive or thrive. 

Usually we think where the power lies, with those in control, is where the intelligence lies. The greater intelligence is in many cases with the stakeholders … ones staff, customers, members, suppliers etc.  Wise leaders, who lead living organisations, know this and use this.