What Defines your Organization?

leadershipWhat is your organization? Not what does it do or make or sell, but what is your organization itself. What’s the fundamental element that if taken away would cause your organization – be it a team, non-profit, task force, company, association, church, club, whatever – to cease to exist?

Is it your address? Your building? Your location? No, if you lost all your real estate you could still function in some capacity, especially in today’s hyper-connected world.

Is it your money? Your investments? Your financial assets? No, you can still exist as an entity without turning any profit. Of course, some organizations can do that longer than others.

Is it your ideas? Your proprietary materials? Your core competencies? We’re getting closer, but even when stripped of your differentiating factors, your organization would still exist to think up new stuff.

Is it your people? Your employees? Your members? Yes. I believe humans are the core thing that if taken away would cause your organization to effectively cease to exist.

If people aren’t the core element of your organization, what is?

If people are the core element, what are you doing to develop and protect them?

3 thoughts on “What Defines your Organization?”

  1. Interesting timing on this, Geoffrey, as I have been thinking of a related lesson from childhood. Last week I went to a conference on the Green Economy, and was pleased to attend breakout sessions emphasizing that how you treat your workers is part of the Green movement. A number of companies were taking very progressive, people-first approaches to their businesses *and* succeeding financially.

    At Sunday School when I was growing up, the teachers often emphasized that the “church” was not the building: it was the people inside. Yet so many business leaders would rather play with spreadsheets or flow charts than invest time in their people. Thanks for your perfect questions.

    1. I totally agree, Jim. Put your people first in the right way, and you’re putting your organization first. Finding that win-win is the skill of great leaders.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! (the Church analogy is spot-on)

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