ComplexityIf you ever step back in wonder and frustration at how your organization is functioning … or failing to do so … you should probably marvel at its complexity.

A business – no matter what kind – is a system of systems.  A system is “a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole” and usually has a defined boundary and a set of inputs and outputs.

What then exactly is a “system of systems?”

A collection of task-oriented or dedicated systems that pool their resources and capabilities together to create a new, more complex system which offers more functionality and performance than simply the sum of the constituent systems.

eColiThe most familiar – and least understood – “system of systems” is your body.  Most familiar because its, like, your body.  Least understood because there are roughly 100 trillion cells in your body organized into a plethora of systems each interacting with many others to create … you!

Each cell, by the way is a system in its own right … composed of systems …

Thankfully, your business is not nearly as complex as that.  But it consists of a multitude of systems interacting with each other to create … your business … which spends its time (and your life) interacting with the other businesses and institutions that make up its economic environment.

Business success and profitability are simple, right?  Buy low; sell high … or … sell high and then buy low … But buy what?  Sell what?  At what price(s)?  How low?  How high?  From whom?  To whom?

Each answer to each question raises more questions, of course.