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Mind, Body—Business?

This article is part of the Best Practices White Paper Business Process Management [January 2010]
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The recession has taken its toll. The pain it has caused is universal and has touched everyone in the modern world at some level—both personally and professionally. On a personal level, wealth has deteriorated, financial stress has increased, and even for those lucky enough to still be employed, the anxiety over the uncertain and volatile economic conditions is ever-present. On a professional level, the way we do our jobs and run our organizations has changed. From taking on more work to scrutinizing investments to executing cutbacks to deliver cost savings, organizations are changing in some way, shape or form—whether it be shrinking, instilling more control or simply applying an extra layer of caution to every decision.

Yes, the pain is real and the change is evident in everyone and every organization.

On a personal level, we each find ways to cope as we strive to keep our mind and bodies healthy and rise above the anxiety—friends, family, faith, hobbies and various outlets give us the emotional and physical support we need to ensure we emerge intact and perhaps even stronger than we were before the crisis.

But what is the organizational equivalent? What will be the short- and long-term impacts of recent market dynamics on businesses, and how do we know if we have the power at the corporate or government agency level to recover, rebound and regain leadership? The answer can be as simple as contemplating the mind-body connection of your organization.

Like the human body, organizations are intricate layers of interdependent parts that all need to be functioning well and doing their part to ensure optimal health.

Seeing and Understanding
Our brains and senses give us the ability to take in information, map out a mental image of the world around us, and adapt the image as new information presents itself. It provides us with an accurate picture of our current situation as well as the ability to imagine various future outcomes—our goals, dreams and hopes for the future serve as roadmaps for our lives.

In business, it is much more difficult to develop this big picture. Too often, organizations are comprised of multiple minds or silos that result in multiple views of reality. Each mind in some way influences the health of the overall body in which they all reside—just as a schizophrenic person is not a healthy person, a schizophrenic business is not a healthy business. So how can you aggregate the many siloed thoughts into one view of the organization—into one central map that serves to provide a common intelligence, common goals and a shared visibility to everyone?

A good, proven approach is to use enterprise and business architecture (EA) software to capture the myriad of goals, capabilities, systems, information, processes and other critical aspects of your organization into visual models. These models then serve as a common blueprint and a common view that allows everyone in your organization to see the world through the same set of eyes. In addition to providing a common view of enterprise goals and resources, EA software is smart enough to map interdependencies among assets for a more intelligent understanding of both the internal enterprise and the external environment in which it operates. As the various models and interdependencies change, so does the visual landscape that drives people’s actions throughout the enterprise.

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