This is a good blog for a clear and cogent introduction to Elliot Jacques’ Requisite Organisation and its systemicity or otherwise…
By the time an organization reaches S-III maturity, its core system is maturing and provides for eventual profitability. At S-IV, the organization sees the emergence of multiple systems and sub-systems (marketing, sales, account management, operations, quality control, research and development, HR, accounting).
At S-V, with maturing multiple systems and sub-systems, the organization has to look outward, to external systems. No matter how well the company is organized internally, it is external systems that impact success (or failure).
Market (External System)
Markets organically shift related to demographics, trends, economic growth or contraction. These organic shifts are sometimes subtle and relatively slow. The relative slow speed allows companies to respond (market response).
Regulation (External System)
Most companies are financially regulated (taxes), some are subject to stringent environmental regulation. During COVID-19, regulation dramatically clamped market demand, by defining essential vs non-essential companies.
Labor (External System)
The US went from record low unemployment to depression level unemployment in a matter of 60 days. Labor is an external system that impacts the way we internally organize.
Finance (External System)
Finance includes institutional debt, credit lines, owner investment, private equity investment. The company believes it should be able to borrow as much money as it has the ability to repay. Banks, on the other hand have these concepts called covenants which require certain internal ratios. Finance, as an external system has an impact on the way we internally organize. COVID-19 shifted credit in some cases to forgivable debt guaranteed by government.
Most of these external systems stand alone, but COVID-19 has brought together a not-so-subtle interplay. The organizations who survive are those who are mature in their internal systems, but also understand the interplay and impact of external systems. Those companies funded in the first tranche of stimulus were those who kicked in applications immediately. Most smaller companies, with immature systems, without awareness of external systems were brushed to the second tranche or left in the cold.
It is the role of the CEO at S-V to ensure both, maturity of internal systems and skilled experience in external systems.