The organisation as organism

Organisations are made of people. That’s it. Of course, they also have some forms of stuff, but the stuff doesn’t fundamentally matter. Given the right people, the stuff can always be replaced.

People are all different. We may be clumped together by psychologists or marketeers into a series of types, but these are sweeping generalisations. Every single one of us is unique – an irreplaceable blend of attitude and experience, and that’s what makes us special. And difficult.

So the organisation is made up of a complicated, changeable, warty collection of individuals, and that’s what makes the organisation special. It’s like multiplying odd numbers. No matter how you try, the result will be odd – and that’s good. If you lose the individuality, shoe-horn square pegs into round holes, treat people like even numbers, the results you produce will be smoothed out – bland and dull. Keep it odd. Odd is good!

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