«Let's rethink our organizations as biological entities …». Caroline de La Marnierre's column
« Thinking « integrated » means refusing to set aside objectives on the grounds that there are priority emergencies», believes the President of Capitalcom and CEO-Founder of the Institut du Capitalisme Responsable.
The health crisis of 2020 will have caused a massive freeze in activity and an energy counter-shock that will trigger a global economic recession with impacts difficult to assess. The ensuing major social crisis could lead to powerful populist breakthroughs, especially in the most advanced countries. Historic disaster precedents bear witness to this. That is the bottom line.
What can be the role of business – alongside governments and investors – in helping to absorb this global trauma? As an integral part of a human, environmental, societal and political ecosystem in which it has been increasingly embedded for decades, how should it act, produce, hire, invest, evaluate and govern itself?
Recently, amidst the pressure of a pandemic that is devastating the economy, « before » questions abound. To overcome the Covid-19 crisis, should we first save the activity and make the environment wait? Is it urgent to protect jobs while temporarily forgetting about the climate? It is urgent to provide them with new answers, freed from the dilemmas of the past. Let’s save the economy, protect companies and their investors, fight for the environment and stop global warming. At the same time, without slackness, without naivety, by selectively using appropriate instruments. In the service of this global cause, all relevant actors, private and public, must combine their forces and, above all, articulate their rhythms.
« This business model, which has yet to be built, will require some rethinking, but it will offer capacities for resilience that we do not suspect. »
Interaction network. It will now be less and less possible to pilot companies in silos with yesterday’s instruments. What the crisis is telling us is that the company must be thought and managed in an integrated way. To think « integrated » means refusing to set aside objectives on the pretext that there are priority emergencies. To think « integrated » is to consider each issue knowing that they are all connected and subject to a larger issue that conditions all the others, the planet. In short, it means looking at it as if it were inserted into a biological system, a network of interactions that is at once complex, fragile, flexible, resilient and deadly. This « business model », which has yet to be built, will require some questioning but it will offer capacities of resilience that we do not suspect because we operate with a way of thinking where the company is « placed » on nature.
Nature doesn’t rush, it sets its own pace. It is up to us to accompany it by rethinking our organizations as biological entities. In this revolution, states will have a tremendous role to play. The « biological model » will not simply be born out of good intentions. Public players, especially governments, will have to reinvent regulatory mechanisms to encourage the emergence of the new model. Finance will also have an overwhelming responsibility to loosen the noose around the definition of performance. All these approaches that will shape the foundations of our new models of capitalism.
Caroline de La Marnierre is President of Capitalcom and CEO-Founder of the Institut du Capitalisme Responsable.