Is Your Ecosystem Thriving or Collapsing?
Imagine a thriving ecosystem, and you may envision a lush landscape with great diversity, energy, and balance. Now imagine an ecosystem that is suffering and you probably see a barren landscape, where life forms are dying off and there is bloodthirsty competition for limited resources.
Now think of some of the organizations or teams within which you have worked. Notice any similarities?
When you think about it, organizations have a lot in common with some of the most complex biological ecosystems:
Individuals at all levels matter
Ecosystems are comprised of interdependent organisms, from microscopic to gigantic, that all function to support and sustain one another. In an organizational ecosystem, every member regardless of their level or function plays a key role in the sustainability of the organization. Healthy organizational ecosystems ensure that the talent and skills of every member are valued and utilized, and every individual member of the organization develops the competencies needed to take initiative and contribute to the vitality of the ecosystem.
In a thriving ecosystem, symbiotic relationships are critical. Individual members of the organization consider the ripple effect of their actions on other stakeholders. They build relationships to support other members of the system, not because it’s “nice to do” but because it is the only way the organizational ecosystem will thrive over the long term.
Ecosystems are dependent on their conditions, and climate and environmental changes can cause a significant impact on an ecosystem’s sustainability. Thriving organizations have leaders at all levels who demonstrate adaptability and resilience to help the ecosystem maintain its balance in times of turbulence. However, even the most adaptable and resilient ecosystem can only withstand so much imbalance due to environmental changes before it suffers. Therefore, leaders must also constantly manage the conditions to ensure stability while the ecosystem is in a state of flux.
Sustainability for organizational ecosystems
For any organization, it is critical to plan for sustainability in the face of constant changes. This means that individuals across the organization need to continuously develop their abilities to effectively contribute to the ecosystem, and the organization must create the conditions for every individual to maximize the full extent of their talents and skills.
Moreover, individuals must be equipped with the right combination of competencies to support the organizational ecosystem. Therefore, the organization must take an integrated approach to building the individualized competencies of each member. In an upcoming blog, we will explore what this looks like and how the organization can make this integrated approach a reality.