What will enable your organization to continue to thrive?  Is there a key to its survival?  That is the question for all of us.  There may seem to be a number of answers.  And in truth, there are several elements that are involved.  But according to Arie de Geus, considered by many to be the founder of the organiztional learning movement, there is a key to whether organizations survive and even prosper.  What is the key?  It is an organization’s ability to learn and then to evolve "to remain in harmony with a changing environment."

Now, for many of us this may raise an immediate eyebrow.  After all, can we really evolve?  Isn’t that counter to so much?  I have to say, "NO!"  I believe the death of an organization is wound up in its inability or unwillingness to adapt.  In fact, I’ve always loved the Jack Welch line from GE’s 2000 annual report: "when the rate of change inside an organization is slower than the rate of change outside, the end is in sight."  That says it all!  And very simply.

But what does it say about your organization?  When you compare the velocity of change on the inside with what’s happening on the outside, are you being left behind?  Is your organization in harmony with the changing environment?  Or are you still holding onto the idea that to be the real thing you’ve got to be out of step?

For more on change check out The Ideal Velocity of Change.

The Key to Organizational Survival