The art and wisdom of corporate governance can be best put to the test through a simple dichotomy: Is your company disruptive or is it being disrupted?
The dichotomy may seem, a priori, simple but it is really complex and very profound.
All businesses, even those who may be considered disruptive, are also being continuously disrupted given their directive correlation with their environment.
In general, however, we could say that 95% of businesses fall into the disrupted category. And a measly 5% can be considered mostly and sustainably truly disruptive.
Most businesses settle for a reactive, fragile, and tropophobic approach, namely, adapting to the change created by disruptors. This implies to be one step behind progress by default and, hence, doomed.
Most do it because they believe that they cannot afford otherwise. And they are partly right because, given their tropophobic and restrictive organizational structures, they are stuck putting out fires on a daily basis.
Even though all businesses should afford to be proactive and be part of the disruptors, most businesses fail to do so for several reasons, e.g., lack of humility, lack of vision, narrow-mindedness, or they just fall asleep on their laurels, i.e., they think they are “Robust” but only until they break. They feel they are “Resilient” and that’s good enough for them. Or, they think they already are “Antifragile” and, thus, there is no need to worry about it. Life is unforgiving and it proves them wrong on a daily basis!
There is probably no other company in the world that epitomizes disruption to the breath and depth as Amazon does.
Amazon appears to be tropophilic. I say “appears” because I’m not sure they are aware of the organizational design principles involved in a tropophilic structure and, therefore, it could revert to a tropophobic/fragile organization under a CEO other than Jeff Bezos.
Amazon has been critized mostly by those who have failed to accomplished even a fraction of what Amazon has accomplished. Yet, they come up will all sorts of “explanations” (e.g., good luck) for Amazon’s success and excuses for their own fragility, incompetence, and tropophobia.
Most, however, still fail to realize that Amazon’s success has never been a matter of good luck.
Amazon’s success has been based on a myriad of actions that could be summarized as a logical consequence of Jeff Bezos’ crystal-clear vision about customer obsession in the short and very long term.
How can any business even pretend to compete with another whose view into the future is at least a decade ahead?
Not a chance!
Amazon’s ability to provide to their customers products and services that their customers themselves have not even thought about is indeed visionary and commendable, to say the least.
Bezos’ understanding of stasis and tropophobic bureaucracies has been a main driver behind his powerful vision. Although he may not have a complete understanding about organizational design principles, he has a profound understanding of what he does NOT want to become. Hence, his abhorrence of tropophobic bureaucracies and all the pathological implications associated with them such as lack of everything (i.e., responsibility, commitment, engagement, cooperation, collaboration, empowerment, innovation, accountability, creativity, enthusiasm, transparency, integrity, trust, etc.,etc., etc.).
The trillion-dollar question is, how can any business become as disruptive or Tropophilic as Amazon has become?
I have excellence news for you, it is actually less difficult than what most businesses have been trying to do by the hand of big consulting companies, despite their outrageous consulting fees*.
To leap-frog into disruption and start a tropophilic business in a single day there is a two-stage process called The Search Conference — whereby the disruptive Vision is developed — followed by The Participative Design Workshop — whereby the how, when, where, who, what, & all possible questions are answered and pragmatically addressed through highly specific and measurable KPIs.
This two-stage process was designed and developed at the Tavistok Institute in England in 1963 by the late Frederick Edmund Emery and further developed over six decades along with his wife Merrelyn who brought it to the US in 1993 invited by Dr. Joel Diemer from the International Institute of Resource Management at New Mexico State University.
There has never been a better opportunity to become a positively disruptive force.
To The Health of Your Tropophilic Disruptive Business!
*In a similar way as some pharmaceutical companies have kidnaped human health, some consulting corporations have kidnaped the wellbeing of many organisations.
JC Wandemberg Ph.D.
President & Founder
About the author: Dr. Wandemberg is an international consultant, stocks trader, professor, and analyst of economic, environmental, social, managerial, marketing, and political issues. For the past 30 years Dr. Wandemberg has collaborated with corporations, communities, and organizations to integrate sustainability through self-transformation processes and Open Systems Design Principles, thus, catalyzing a Culture of Trust, Transparency, and Integrity.