Business Is An Ego-System:Social Is An Eco-System

by Jay Deragon on 07/24/2013


There is a lot being written about organizations becoming “social businesses”. New organizational models are being proposed to look more like the social network models. Much is being said about the need for cultural transformation for organizations to truly become a social business. While we can talk about having strategies and plans to become a social business first we must talk about the philosophical constraints between an ego-system and an eco-system.

Business as usual is driven by ego-systems of command, control, economic gains for the few, power, structure and a splintered culture while a social business is driven by a socially and environmentally conscious eco-system of collaboration, empowerment, decentralized control, value creation for the many and a fluid structure united by a strong culture.

Just because “appearing social” to consumers has economic benefits to business doesn’t mean the business has transformed from an ego to an eco-system mentally, socially and spiritually. So now the business community, and its suppliers, proposes solutions that appear to pursue old strategies that create “social businesses”. Subsequently we are now hearing much about “new” strategic social business plans and models yet under the hood these are the same mental models of previous strategic planning model theories and tools.

Shall we forget that 70% of Strategic “Business “Plans fail because:

  1. Executive leadership fails to lead the plan
  2. Cultural barriers that resist the required changes
  3. Exclusion: 85% of the people are typically left out of the planning process
  4. Lack of integration: Failure to take away old unnessecary work while adding new work
  5. Excessive structure and formality:  Injecting so much formality into the system that it lacks flexibility, looseness, and simplicity; and restrains creativity.
  6. Lack of feedback loops and progress measures

Now those are the reasons for failure of old strategic business plans. Now imagine trying to replace an ego-system with an eco-system transformation driven by a philosophical shift that are more about a change in beliefs which pre-empts a change in strategy any day of the week.

Plans Change Strategies: Learning Changes Beliefs

The main reason most strategies fail is that nobody really believes anything will change. Instead of planning to change strategies what most organizations really need to do is learn how to change their beliefs systems. Most of our belief systems exist from learning methodologies relied on learning from the past. While the challenge of defining a “social business” relies on what we believe about the emerging future being transformed by social technology. This is not a vision statement rather it is a deep examination of fundamental belief differences between a business ego-system and a social eco-system.

A transformation in business beliefs from ego to eco system philosophy must take place before leaders can even begin to comprehend and believe in an emerging future that benefits the many. Our business belief system has been molded by the industrial era. This is the Social Era and it is time to optimize eco-system thinking and raise our social consciousness.

The results will be better than any bottom line could ever measure.  Of course you have to believe it to see it.


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