Why it’s Important
Any organisms, including organizations, are susceptible to pain throughout their lifetime. This pain may be temporary or short-term and you have a good idea as to the cause of the pain. Some pain is long-term or chronic and you’re not always sure what the real cause is to the pain.
Look at the human organism compared to an organizational organism:
Babies and Start-Ups
When we’re babies, we suffer a lot of pain. As babies, we all suffered from hunger, wet diapers, sleepiness and gas – that’s why we cried. Many babies also suffer from other ailments and may not always survive the vulnerable state they’re in, should they have a serious ailment. Start-up organizations suffer a number of pains, such as unpredictable cash flow, low reputation, lack of marketing, etc. They eventually work through these pains or don’t survive if they become too vulnerable to the pains.
Teenagers and Growing Organizations
Teenagers are most susceptible to growth spurts, which cause their bodies to feel the pain of this growth in their muscles and joints. Their parents feel the pain of higher grocery and clothing bills to keep up with the growing teenager. When an organization goes through a growth spurt, it can suffer from the pain of not having enough resources to keep up or a strong enough infrastructure to support the growth spurt.
Adults and Mature Organizations
Adults often suffer any number of pains, be they physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, etc. A person’s experiences, health, temperament, support systems, etc. all play a role in how they face and deal with the pains. Likewise, mature organizations often suffer from a variety of pains, whether they be economic, customer-related, staffing-related, etc. Their leadership, health, culture and infrastructure will all play a role in how they weather the pain and address it.
Seniors and Declining Organizations
Human organisms eventually die. If we’re lucky enough to survive early death, we may live into our 80’s or 90’s, and some even into their 100’s. Seniors’ bodies begin to wear out, their intellect declines, their finances are fixed and/or declining – all causing a variety of pains to themselves and their loved ones. Organization organisms have an advantage over humans, in that in theory, they do not have to die. Many do, though, over time. As with humans, their infrastructure gets fragile, their intellect or innovation is harder to come by or ignored or their financial resources can no longer support them.
With humans having central nervous systems, we are usually fully aware when we are in pain. Though, there are some situations, such as with mental illness, that we are not necessarily aware that we are in pain. Others around us may see the pain before we do. When we experience pain, we try to find solutions to relieve the pain as quickly as we can. Pain causes us to not feel our best, work at our best, or be the best child, parent, partner, relative or friend. It distracts us from really living. We may not address the root cause right away, but with enough perseverance most of us eventually get to the root cause and get rid of the pain. We may need to bring in some additional help to relieve the pain.
Organizations, depending on their size, culture and age, may not always be aware they are in pain. They may ignore the signs of pain. When they do become aware of the pain, they often treat the symptom rather than getting to the root cause. By only addressing symptoms, the pain will eventually reoccur or manifest itself in some other area(s) of the organization. As with humans, pain causes an organization to not be their best and can cause additional pain to their customers, employees, environment and future. If you know or suspect your organization is in pain, address it as quickly as possible, and make sure you get to the root cause of the pain. Bring in help, if necessary, to find the cause and relieve the pain! Be the best you can be.
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