How does our theory become practice? LO23808

From: Winfried Dressler (
Date: 01/21/00

Replying to LO23785 --

>These meandering thoughts form rivers.
>Here in Africa the waters of rivers have to cover vast distances
>with only a slight decline in elevation. The waters of these rivers
>meander very slowly, so slow that in the dry season they seem to >stand still. With such brooding the sea seems to be so far away.
>In these still waters deadly diseases develop like bilharzia, malaria >and ebola fever.

Dear At,

what a rich picture have you drawn with your contribution. Like a tablett
with many delicious pralines, I allow myself to only pick one out of the
whole and relate it to what I read in Chapter 6 of Arie de Geus Living

He describes living companies as rivers meandering through the course of
time, giving life to whereever they pass. Unfortunately some of them try
to become still water - ponds. It takes long time to build a
river-company, but it can be dried out within a few months. He gives three
guidelines to do the destruction (I have only a german copy, can someone
provide the english translation, please?):

"1. Erklaeren Sie, dass das Unternehmen zu unrentabel arbeitet. Von nun an
muss eine bestimmte Kapitalrendite erwirtschaftet werden. (Expect a
certain return on capital)

2. Stellen Sie einen Aktionsplan fuer eine umfassende Kuerzung aller
Investitionen in allen Bereichen auf, damit diese Ziele erreicht werden.
(plan to cut investment throughout the company)

3. Setzen Sie den Plan um." (take action on the plan)

He provocatively calles such a company economic company, as opposed to the
flowing river company.

Just to add to the picture another stem.

Liebe Gruesse,


[Host's Note: I believe I have found the same lines in the American
edition, pg 126

"...if you have a river company in place, you can demolish it in less than
12 months. Simply follow these easy steps:

1. Declare that the company isn't profitable enough. Henceforth, your goal
will be a specific amount of return on capital employed.

2. Develop an action plan in which all assets will be trimmed back across
the board to meet these goals.

3. Follow the plan."



"Winfried Dressler" <>

[Host's Note: In assoc with, this link

The Living Company by Arie De Geus


Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.