#1: Business, like a Bonsai, is alive!

A bonsai is alive, that’s obvious. What may not be as obvious is that your business, too, is a living entity. What happens if we shift our metaphor from “business as machine” to “business as organism?”

If we listen to common business language, we detect distinct mechanical and technological overtones – driving profits, shutting down units, keeping up, plugging in, down time, and so on.

What happens if we shift to an organic vocabulary, and we talk instead of nurturing relationships, growing intimacy with customers, cultivating new products, choosing the best climate for our business, and so on?

In the Bonsai Business Model, we understand that “organization” derives from the same root as “organism,” as writer Meg Wheatley reminds us. Organisms – unlike machines – are alive. An established business has seasons and cycles. A business grows and develops. A business can expand, and flourish. Business can blossom.

Since a bonsai is alive, time enters the equation and is viewed differently in the Bonsai Business Model. In dealing with living entities, acting is balanced with waiting. Patience has a seat at the table, since living entities function according to cycles, moods, and seasons.

We lead and manage differently if we recognize what we are leading and managing – our organization – is itself a dynamic ecosystem. We organize our work differently when we realize the people working in our organization are vulnerable living organisms with a pulse, not machines to be driven.