In its simplest form, a fractal is a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns yet constantly self-similar across different scales; think snowflakes, tree branches, lightning, ferns, even agave plants.
Occasionally referred to as images of Chaos, fractals are driven by recursion or simply put, defining a problem in terms of itself. Fractal patterns are extremely familiar to us as nature is full of fractals including rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes, and, in the case of computer systems, generated by calculating an equation over and over on itself– famous now as the Mandelbrot Set discovered by Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975.
So how does complex mathematics drive business, corporations, or success?
In a world that has changed significantly in the past few years; where staff is more difficult to find; expertise and experience are less likely to stay within the confines of a traditional business model, the notion of a fractal business structure is appealing.
With a past that included silos and departments knitted together with communication protocols and hierarchal leadership, business today is being viewed as a system rather than simply the sum of its functions. We are in essence then systems nested inside larger systems.
Consider how your organization meshes with your supply chain partners, clients, software platforms, communities, and even the wider environment. This fractal or “systems” approach has a positive impact on business structure and improves business performance both internally and externally.
The fractal business model allows members of the company to take a practical approach to refine the flow of the external systems that affect their business operations. Interesting to note that one of the keys to this framework is the lack of conventional supervisory, management, and administrative roles that typically comprise between 35 to 50% of the labor costs of an organization.
What is the fractal advantage to your business?
The fractal approach generates more conversations, interactions, and connections. These conversations and interactions generate insights and innovation which are needed to create better solutions for your customer’s needs. If we look at conversations and their importance in building relationships, creating trust, and building understanding and appreciation, then just generating more discussions and friendships must improve revenue, reputation, and sales and ignite creativity.
More importantly, growing your business, and adjusting what you sell, service, or provide is driven by customer needs and wants. The deeper that knowledge, the nimbler the change can be from within.
The fractal approach generates more conversations, interactions, and connections.
The how to achieve this fractal model is simpler than it seems. The fractal business model creates a company, out of smaller companies; each smaller company is also made from smaller companies, and so the pattern continues.
What is in common with all these companies is they are all subject to the same rules and constraints. So, no boundaries, segmentation, privileges, posturing, or self-importance allowed!
An older example would have been when a large corporation gave license to a group of experts to ‘hot-house’ a new idea, product, or tool and in so doing gave them FULL reign to do what they needed to get the job done yet within the construct and support of the mother ship – the corporation.
This new group or cell is in fact a ‘virtual’ company’ within the ‘cloak of a lawful company; all the rules that apply to the legal company also apply to a ‘virtual company’. If every cell (virtual company) complies with all the contractual, regulatory, and statutory requirements that constrain the statutory company then, by definition, the statutory company is fully compliant with all requirements.
Where a traditional business is built from the top, a fractal business is built from the bottom. This is important as ownership for success rests with everyone; accountability lies with all members of each cell; competition or combativeness cannot exist where each cell is not only fully compliant but also fully committed to the success of the cell, they are in which in turn is simply a cell within a cell – a fractal!
Traditional business is built from the top, a fractal business is built from the bottom. Fractals are fascinating in nature and quite captivating – let the fractals that nature has perfected be your guide in business too!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DINA O'REILLY
Dina is 4xi's growth lead, project management office and ghostwriter in residence all in one. To learn more about 4xi, you can contact Dina directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website to learn more about who we are, what we do, and how we inspire a brighter future, together: www.4xiconsulting.com
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