Treat Your Business Like a Living Organism

Posted by Kristin Arnold on March 22, 2018

I just got back from the ISA – The Association of Learning Providers’ Annual Business Retreat – full of great insights and networking with other executives of training companies.  (Hence, the reason why my weekly blog post is a bit later than usual!)

The opening keynoter was Margaret Heffernan who cautioned us about thinking that there is “One Big Idea” to fix the system [e.g. Re-Engineering, The Learning Organization, TQM, etc.].  Things have gotten so complicated and complex to believe that there is a silver bullet – as if one ever existed.

Instead, Heffernan suggests we treat organizations like living organisms.  Rather than using the scientific method to “fix” problems in the organization, to take an organic approach to problem-solving – much like a physician will diagnose a patient.  Ask, “How healthy is the organization?” “Is it flourishing?”

These are the questions we need to be asking, and we need to treat the organization as an organic system.

But where do you start?

She said to start with the intersection where there is a defined need, resources to address that need, and passion to around the idea.

Sounds like a good idea to me!


KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.

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