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Emergent Enterprise

During my career to date I’ve run the gamut of organisation sizes and types from small “family” run businesses through medium enterprises and all the way through banks and large corporations in both an employee and external consultant capacity so I’ve got a sort of inside and outside view of how businesses and management practise work across almost the entire spectrum of business type, sectors and approach.

Some of the common themes across my experience I’ve put together into pithy truisms which I trot out on occasion, some my own, some overheard or offered up by friends and colleagues. I thought it might be interesting to offer some up and see how other people’s experience relates, negates or coincides with mine. I loosely label all of this with a coined phrase “Emergent Enterprise” because the lessons I’ve learned (and continue to learn) are about how enterprises, large and small, need to look again at how they run, manage and control themselves and (I believe) replace the sort of thinking which leads to stagnation and overburdened processes with an evolutionary model which encourages the best process to do a particular job to evolve in the doing (and continue to evolve going forward).

While I’m not even going to pretend that i know everything (or even very much) about management I’m hoping what I write may seem completely obvious or straight forward common sense to you because I often think that the core of wisdom are the things which seem self evident or which just remind one of something one intrinsically knows (but maybe haven’t consciously thought about in a while). Therefore, if in reading one of these pieces you end up thinking: “statement of the obvious! I already knew that!” I’ve probably done my job right.

The truism leading off the first article of this series: “No-one ever fixed a process by adding more process” (coming soon) which introduces the concept of Emergent Enterprise isn’t one of my own but was said to me recently by my friend and colleague Rob Ellis (@rob_s_ellis) and it struck an immediate chord with me as I’ve often found myself in exactly that situation where organisations try to fix broken processes or a perceived lack of control with more processes or more “rigourous” control structures and that’s where I inevitably end up concluding that less command and control based thinking and more “influential and evolutionary” thinking would be a far better fit.

Hopefully you’ll get some value out of this series. If so (or even if not), please do comment and let’s share some of our experiences.