Organizations like human beings

When we use a metaphor to express organizations, we can describe them as “human beings”. There are several hidden similarities between organizations and human beings.

Brain: The board of directors

First, for the simplicity, we think of organizations as public companies. In public companies, there are the board of directors. They make decisions to show the direction of the company, to realize corporate vision as well as mission, to earn revenue and profit, to increase their share price, to converse with each stakeholder, and to account for decisions and actions.

Therefore, we can say that the board of directors in each organization is our brain. As for human beings, our brain can make a decision. In addition to this, first line staff in organizations are in charge of execution. If we consider our actions, hands and feet are necessary. As a result, we may compare our hands and feet to organizations’ first line staff. This is because each role is implementation and there is the similarity.

Blood: Corporate culture

Second, culture in organizations cannot be seen from outside but it is really important. This is because corporate culture is able to align employees with the direction of each organization. Furthermore, it can enhance employees’ capability. For example, Amazon’s corporate culture is customer obsession. In fact, employees in the American IT giant always think how to satisfy their customers. As a result, the company’s services meet customer’s expectations and this is one reason why Amazon is one of the most valuable companies across the globe.

When it comes to human beings, we can compare our blood to corporate culture. This is because our blood also cannot be seen from outside and it is indispensable for our actions. In other words, our hands and feet are not able to move without our blood. We cannot see both corporate culture and blood from outside, but they are indispensable.

Personal vision: Corporate vision

Third, vision and mission are essential for both organizations and human beings. Vision can imply what organizations or human beings look for. On the other hand, mission can tell what they should do. Especially, in this uncertain age, many people feel difficulties to do the right things in the right time. This is because there is no clear answer to the question: What is a right thing and when is a right time? Therefore, as our personal vision and mission will be able to guide us, organizations will do the same way based on their vision and mission.

In the end, as human beings are not changed for an overnight, it takes long time for organizations to be changed.

How difficult to change organizations

As we see a metaphor between organizations and human beings, there are three hidden similarities. Thus, we can find a hint to change organizations. The clue is corporate culture because it is the most difficult to be changed and it takes more time than other two factors.

For example, when companies face financial challenges, some companies make a decision to change their board of directors. In this metaphor, it means that a company change its brain in order to turn the situation around. In addition to this, many companies explain their vision and mission politely and clearly, or sometimes they redefine them to match with the present society. For instance, Toyota Corporation, which is the Japanese largest automotive manufacturer and the Japanese most valuable company, redefined its corporate mission as “Producing Happiness for All”.

However, as we cannot change our blood easily, companies cannot change their culture overnight. It takes time, or it seems impossible sometime. In order to survive in this uncertain era, some companies can change corporate culture successfully, In fact, the gap between some companies that renew their culture and others that do not is getting wider now. New York Times is a good example to have changed its corporate culture.

In the other article, we also discuss the famous quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. This quote refers how important corporate culture is in every organization. Therefore, it goes without saying that corporate culture becomes more crucial for success in this uncertain age.