AHC Group

The Corporation as a Mansion

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Courtesy of AHC Group

Whether you sit in several corporate board rooms, deliberate full or part time over legislation and regulation, or simply enjoy following the allegiances inherent in your buying power or equity investments, today’s shift from senile to social capitalism is worth paying attention to. One way to help visualize the concrete challenges and opportunities facing modern multi-national corporations as they consider a shift to social response capitalism is to think of these huge companies as a gigantic mansion.

The model of social response product development is built in four dimensions, like the structure of a house:

• Knowledge floors – levels of company knowledge, ranging from the basement to the ceiling;
• Knowledge depth – the ever-growing vertical accumulation of expertise and knowledge, often stored in the equivalent of a basement;
• Knowledge endurance – the expanding walls or sides of corporate knowledge, which expands horizontally across the company mansion;
• Knowledge dependence – features of the mansion that become models for other company mansions.

This article seeks to “raise” the knowledge floor of today’s multi-national corporations and thereby literally build upon the experiences of social response capitalists that can then maximize value to society as a whole.

Sometimes the ceiling can be lifted with the sheer force of a lead set of executives. Sometimes all this takes is one lucky technical breakthrough. More often, it is amazing how easy it is for three decades of a manager’s life to pass digging deeply into the recesses of a single department within a single firm before he or she strikes gold in the form of some unusual and productive innovation. It is this vertical knowledge depth that sustains value over the long-term, if it can be properly accessed by the latest generation of leaders trusted with the nurturing of the company’s unique corporate culture.

Inside the corporate mansion, the “side walls” constantly need to be buttressed or expanded horizontally as well. Staff, product, market position, valuation as perceived by investor groups or Wall Street, alter daily, clearly highlighting the need for knowledge endurance if the firm is interested in long-term survival and success in the near future.

In the end, the ultimate success of any multi-national corporation rests upon knowledge dependence, those rare moments of synchronicity, when a particular feature of one’s corporate mansion becomes such a compelling architectural gem, that a legion of mimics from a variety of corporate sectors follow behind. This is the epitome of success in today’s marketplace, when a particular product, process or structural innovation transforms the fundamental rules of the game, when every corporate leader wishes to own a corporate mansion just like yours.

The corporate mansion has many occupants. It is organic, capable of immense and rapid growth or decay. It will change for the better, and grow in value, if knowledge flows freely from floor to floor: if accrued knowledge is saved and passed on, and if the pursuit of more knowledge is actively encouraged.

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