The average Fortune 500 Company today can expect to enjoy a run of about 40 to 50 years. That may sound like a respectable life span until you learn there are large and small companies in the World that have been around for two, three and even four centuries .
What’s the secret to their longevity ?
Long-lived companies don’t focus solely upon economic activity. Instead , their goal is to build a community that grows & thrives beyond the individual contributions of each generation.
The idea may sound radical but it’s the foundation for a variety of other institutions including Churches, Universities, and even armies that were established centuries ago & continue to flourish today. These institutions & their corporate counterparts exhibit the behaviour & select characteristics of living organisms. They learn, develop an identity, build relationships with other life forms, grow and eventually die. They are, in fact, living entities.
Living companies, like all organisms, exist primarily to survive & fulfil their maximum potential. Just as work is a means to an end for you, making money by producing goods & services is a means to an end for a living company. Their end is to live.
They stay alive by
· Learning & choosing to adapt to their environment
· Creating strong identities as tightknit communities
· Paying attention to their relationships with both members & external agencies
· Controlling their growth by spending money frugally.
Understanding how a company can be a living entity is a first step towards increasing its life expectancy.
The enclosed document captures Some Impressionistic takes how a living company learns, develops a strong identity, nurtures relationships & evolves to a ripe old age.