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Posts tagged “organizations”

Geckos, termite mounds and organizations

Nature is full of ideas for the attuned innovator – and for the attuned leader.

The growing field of biomimicry has some great examples of nature-driven innovation: non-toxic adhesives inspired by geckos, energy efficient buildings inspired by termite mounds and resistance-free antibiotics inspired by red seaweed.

The Biomimicry Institute defines biomimicry as: “the science and art of emulating Nature’s best biological ideas to solve human problems.” I came across something written by the Institute’s president that made me realize nature also offers some good insights into solving organizational issues.  Here’s what she (Janine Benyus) calls the “Nine Laws of Nature”:

Nature runs on sunlight.
Nature uses only energy it needs.
Nature fits form to…

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Six ways for leaders to keep up the energy

I had lunch with one of the most naturally positive CEOs I know yesterday, and he was anything but.  I had a similar experience about a week ago with another normally optimistic CEO.  2009 has presented leaders with a host of tall challenges from falling sales and written-off receivables to lack of credit and cash flow.  These two conversations highlighted another challenge: most CEOs are tired and discouraged and expecting economic progress to remain slow for months to come.  That makes it hard for them to provide the kind of energizing leadership and positive outlook their organizations want and need from them.

The earlier days of the recession involved the kind of call to action most companies know how to respond to – “our environment has changed and we…

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Is your informal organization working for or against you?

We recently hosted a small-group discussion with several corporate execs and Jon Katzenbach, author of the longtime bestseller “The Wisdom of Teams.”  In teeing up the conversation, Jon talked about the importance of the “informal organization” in today’s environment.  You couldn’t listen without thinking about the opportunity these organizations represent within their companies.

Among other things, informal organizations are characterized by innovation, motivation and collaboration.  Their power lies in their ability to influence others, to identify and fix things that aren’t working and to make things work better.  They also have the ability to stymie change efforts if they’re ignored. 

According to Jon, informal organizations feature:

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