Run Your Agency Like a City and Not Like a Business

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Ressler 7 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #123243

    Bill Brantley

    Dave Gray argues that cities are better able to handle complexity than companies because they:

    1) Have ecosystems

    2) Strong identities

    3) Practice active listening

    So is your agency a business or a city?

  • #123249

    Steve Ressler

    I always argue this one- you can’t run government like a business because it isn’t one. Can apply some principles similarly and should but shareholders are different. And the constraints are different (politicians and budget, what’s seen as success)

  • #123247

    Bill Brantley

    @Steve – I agree with you and I also don’t think government agencies are like cities. If you read the article, you should take the time to read the comments because the arguments against Gray’s thesis make a lot of sense.

  • #123245

    Bill Brantley

    I just posted a comment to Gray’s posting. Essentially I made three points:

    1) The comparison should be between cities and industries/professions. Neighborhoods make up a city and they constantly change and are replaced by new neighborhoods. Cities may have lifespans of hundreds of years but very few neighborhoods last that long. Lawyers have been around since ancient Rome but law firms constantly change within the profession. Businesses are to neighborhoods as cities are to professions/industries.

    2) There is no definite answer on the actual number of cities in the world. To compare lifespans (if you accept this single measure as a sign of success) you need to establish at least two averages. The average lifespan of a business is well-known but we can’t really calculate an accurate average for the lifespan of a city.

    3) Gray’s thoughts are interesting but Eric Beinhocker does a better and more compelling analysis of the power of communication and networking in his Origin of Wealth.

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