Why not learn from Nature, the way things have been given to us? Einstein even said “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.”
There are hundreds of different business models available today, each one being marketed as better or the best because ‘see how much money and how many awards the founder of this model has achieved’. In this approach that which is God given, that which we accept and implicitly rely on, we ignore? Have we taken in what is so fundamentally sustainable and reliable and tried to learn from this, or have we just become infatuated with our own ability to understand the mineral world and how we can use it in the most incredible ways? Do we go further than this or just stop here?
Business we see as a means to keep ourselves above others. These others, however, are those that we need for this ‘success’ of ourselves. In essence we have tried to make as much as we can for ourselves by selling to our fellows, our families, our neighbours, those struggling to survive. All of these people that we sell to know themselves that they are doing the same to us. It brings up the image of a whole lot of hungry cats being thrown into a cage together – survival of the fittest. We all know that part of this game of business is about keeping the price falsely high. As a consequence, we all go shopping for goods trying to push the price down because we know that something is being hidden from us. Every business has to do whatever they can to push prices up and costs down in order to survive. What are the business models behind all this? Sustainable, real, healing or damaging?
Let’s look at an alternative.
Modern science recognises that there are four distinct Kingdoms on Earth. They are Minerals, Plants, Animals and Man (MPAM). Together they make up everything on Earth. No matter what we look at, the mineral element is present. Some of the mineral is lifeless in the form of rocks, sand, gold, water, air and so on. Then there is the element where the minerals are taken up into the living elements on earth, the plants, animals and us, the human being. In the living division of what we find on earth, we can find a clear distinction also. One division we can call nature and the other we can call Mankind or Humanity. Every living creature from the simplest plant all the way to the most evolved mammal, excluding Human Beings, is part of the natural laws and falls within the compliant womb, the structure and processes of nature. Humanity separates itself from this because somehow we have something added to us, inherent in our constitution that either disturbs nature or domesticates it. Wild dogs and wild cats, for example, are few relative to their domesticated brothers and sisters. Cows, chickens, and turkeys also fall into this category of animal domestication. They all need to be cared for by the human being. They would battle to survive in nature. The takeout of the above would be that from the mineral to plant and animal we could call perfect nature, God’s own perfection, harmony and balance. Humanity on the other hand lives partly from this and in this, but also seems to influence it. We are the ones creating greenhouse gasses, nuclear waste and so on. So where is there a business model in this MPAM?
Everything in nature is grounded, founded, on the mineral element. This applies to our businesses also. We have an address which is a mineral or physical quality. In the same way, you know that a plant or animal is there because one is able to see its mineral structure. We find our businesses also in this way.
We keep our business premises ‘alive’ through the maintenance of the infrastructure, plant and machinery, from the pavements to the fence or wall, to the building, the machines, the plumbing. In fact, we permeate the mineral side of our businesses with maintenance concerns, preventative maintenance and breakdown maintenance. Nature permeates the mineral of anything living with life, with concern for survival. We do the same with our businesses don’t we? In fact, the mineral structure of our businesses varies depending on the purpose that we are in business for. A motor car manufacturer has a mineral structure that befits this objective. A centipede, fish and bird have bodies that befit their purpose in nature. While we do have concern for our businesses structure relative to its purpose, how much more accurate could we get it? The plant and animal mineral structures we find in nature are tailor made for purpose and function. Could we not get our structures closer to the ideals we find in nature? We design a lot around costs today, not around perfect fit for perfection in efficiency. If we get our business mineral right, our bodily structure, fit for purpose with the intense dignity that nature shows us is possible in the case of each species, surely we will get a whole lot more efficient in our specific role of service provision for others?
Taking this further then and adding the ‘life’ to this mineral, something that a seed has implicitly in it, and retains over long periods if necessary, we can see that we also want our businesses to have life. We give this to them in an image of what life itself does in its simplest way to the plants. The mineral in the plant serves a higher purpose as it grows and reproduces as opposed to being just mineral when it is not incorporated into the plant but rests in the soil just next to the plant. So too our businesses can serve a ‘higher’ purpose when we keep it alive. Yes, we do keep our businesses alive through what is ordinarily seen as internal controls, QMS (Quality Management Systems), starting times and ending times, SIC (Short Interval Control) forms and so on. There are also rhythms and routines that develop from these that operate quietly and sometimes unnoticed in their relevance in the background. In these ways, we give our businesses ‘life’, sustainability, memory of who they are, just as a seed knows what it is. This is what one could call the ‘plant’ element in our businesses. Of course, we could become very interested and detailed in how much concern we give to what ‘life’ we give our businesses. We can also overdo things in this area and constrain development if we try to systemise everything. Banks are an example of this. The control environment is overdone and so they become stagnant and not customer focussed.
The next element in nature is the animal. Animals have instinct and can move. They can experience and learn. Our businesses also develop instinct and learn. We can be more aware of what we want this to be than we generally are at present. The mineral structure, the processes, routines and rhythms have a significant impact on what kind of learning and instinct becomes the reality. The people within the business are the carriers of this instinct through the influence of the body and the ‘life’ force of the business. It is quite obvious that this is the case when one loses a key person anywhere in the business. All that this person has known, such as where things are physically, how things have been defined to work, when people do this and when that, how to deal with this customer or that supplier, leaves when that person leaves us. Having this all recorded on a CRM or other system is not instinct as it is not personal living experience in the person that succeeds the person that has left, not until they have gone through a significant portion of the experience themselves. Staff retention then also takes on a more defined meaning. Changing the wrong staff is very costly to a business. If we become attentive to these realities of instinct and how it is created, or lost, and can add benefits or be destructive, we can include this in our planning when we change staff, or when we add a new store/division to the business for example, or add a new product. We can consider what mineral changes will best suit the plan, what ‘life’ we need to give it through processes, procedures and rhythms so as to assist with a changed instinct or the underpinning of an instinct that we don’t have properly present in our current organisation.
Finally, we can add to our thinking, our conceptual base, that we as human beings need to be the ‘God’ of our businesses, the conceptual base-forming beings. We need to keep our creation in balance and in movement if we want to be able to interact with the market effectively. By this is meant that one cannot deliver product to market when machines or processes are broken or people don’t understand what service they are there to provide and for who in the first place. God keeps the balance in nature as far as we have not interfered. We can become conscious that we need to do this for our businesses. How do we determine the balance? Well, we can start simply and move into more detail as we understand this ‘modality’ and process. A simple example would be that a typical barber shop has a form that would make a lady’s hair salon difficult to fit in. Think on this, picture it for yourself. Another would be that steel fabrication cannot work if the basic infrastructure is an abandoned ship moored on a quay. We really need to want to link our mineral structure to purpose. It is only our human beingness/humanity that can search for this within himself or herself as they train themselves to see and understand the truths of nature as regards the mineral. To then put in controls and processes that hold things sufficiently together but don’t strangulate them is the next challenge. To link this process to what instinct is required and desired then follows. Our shared Humanity within the organisation needs to be aligned to the above relationships as well as to our purpose. An organisation that has imbalances in the above relationships is busy fixing these and not answering the needs of the market. Many of today’s recipes for organisations are based on the latest fad, the latest branded offering that is popular. Our guide could be what we find around us as the four kingdoms of mineral, plant, animal and Mankind as given by God.
If one works intensively in this way, linking what we are forming in the material world by way of organisations and businesses to the way it is done in allowing us to exist and partake, we will resolve many imperfections in our own soul lives in the process as well as strengthen it as it becomes aligned to what God has shown us in Nature. It will become possible for us to see more and understand everything better because of this inner re-orientation to a holism. Our businesses will become ever more reflections of true and good relationships within themselves. People will not be wasted and therefore neither will too much else. We may find ourselves more and more in harmony with our physical world using its resources more carefully in a healing rather than a destructive manner.