Relationships count

The quality of the relationships in a company directly impact the success of the business.

When people talk about a company such as Goldman Sachs as “The bank”, or “Goldman” as if it is a real person, they are glossing over the most important feature of the organisation, which is that it is made up of thousands of people in relationship with each other.

The nature of the relationships is really what a company is all about. If relationships are mercenary then the company is mercenary. If they are caring then the company is caring. Relationships that are functional create functional organisations and conversely dysfunctional relationships end in dysfunctional companies.

Just like in marriages – sometimes dysfunction can go on for a long time and reach it’s own equilibrium. It works in it’s own strange way.

Better are those organisations that work for a long time off the foundation of functional relationships.

Next time you describe your company – describe the relationships – it’s the most accurate picture of what is really going on.

Avoiding the official future

The official future is what scenario planners call the future as we expect it to happen. Other names are the default future or the perceived path of least resistance because we expect nothing major to change. It is also the least creative option available to you at any point in time as it allows you to stay in a comfort zone and not think about more challenging futures, positive or negative.

The beauty of thinking about scenarios for our future is that they force us out of the official future and we have to consider other options. The other options in themselves are not where the real value lies. The value lies in the process between your current thinking and having arrived at the new alternatives.

To do this can be hard, because it requires forcing yourself to look at all the areas of your future where you have doubt and there are unknowns. Facing this uncertainty and thinking through how you would deal with it, is the only way to manage it effectively.

It is uncomfortable because it shoves us out of our comfort zone and ensures we think about change even before it happens. Of course we can resist, but unfortunately the change happens anyway. The choice is pain up front when you have the luxury to think about it, or pain in the moment when you are up against the big uncertainty you hoped would never happen.

The official future applies as much to our business strategies as it does to our private lives. Believe it at your peril.