Every organization will decay

Organizational decay

It is inevitable. Like most things or rather everything, organizations aren’t immortal. While it may sound like a loaded statement and you would rather live in denial, we are surrounded by examples. It isn’t always an immediate death; decay can be painfully slow and unnoticeably so. It may take a decade, a century or multiple centuries but it will happen. Can you name five organizations that have lost their founder and continue to retain their former glory? Unfortunately, all organizations follow the decay curve. They all have a mean lifetime and a half-life.

It’s hard to believe in decay when we look at the giants that surround us today. Shining stars like Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook (Telsa?) and more blind us into believing that they will last forever. Then we see organizations like GE and Ford that have been around forever. Organizations can be invincible, can’t they? Look closely and you will find that some of them have begun to show signs of decay. True, it may take them longer but it’s coming.

You are obviously expecting me to pull out a solution out of a hat; tell you that here are ‘5 steps to ensure that your organization doesn’t face ultimate decline’. Well, here’s the bad news – there isn’t a cure. However, there is a way to delay decline and it is so simplistic that you’d probably dislike it. So without any delay, here it is *drumroll*

“Know that your organization will decay”

Yes, that’s step 1 and mostly all that there is to it. The moment the reality hits you, you far more likely to be more observant of the signs of decay. There is rarely one decision or a small set of decisions that lead to decline. It usually takes more to send the organization down the path of no return. The sooner you find them, the sooner you can fix them and consequently, the longer you delay decline.

So why wait? Go on a hunt and find the little things that are sending your organization into ‘decay mode’. You may be surprised by what you find. Happy hunting!


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