many things in life can be illustrated by a simple population model. think of a wooded land where wolves and sheep live together. because of the natural order of things, a particular number of sheep is necessary to sustain a healthy population of wolves. and if you have too many wolves, you lose too many sheep. that causes fewer resources for the wolves, which in turn leads to lower levels of their population. fewer wolves allow the sheep population to grow back—and so life follows this beautiful dance where the environment keeps itself in check.
except when it doesn’t.
the number of sheep needs to remain above a certain lower-bound to ensure that the overall population can rebound if environmental conditions change back in the sheep’s favor. fall too low, and the sheep population will never recover—taking along with it the wolves.
this is why any organization that acts like a wolf needs to proceed with caution.
the pressures of the business world push so many into a race to the bottom. lower costs, higher margins, bigger profits. companies will provide their employees, the people who actually generate the revenue through their hard work and diligence, with outdated tools and technology that frustrate users and sap productivity. they will rip out their customer service teams and replace them with call centers based in foreign lands, manned by workers who—because they have no affiliation to the parent organization—have neither the desire nor the authority to delight those customers. they will expand too far too fast looking for new customers in locations and markets that haven’t been proven to be able to sustain growth.
the wolf needs to learn where it gets its energy from, how to eat without over-eating, and the boundaries of its domain.
so the question becomes: does your organization respect its environment, or is it trying to exploit it?