What exactly today “assessing the landscape” means?
For every landscape there is a (sometimes hidden) firm’s inscape.
Firm’s perception of the environment affects stakeholders and the external ecosystem as firm models the landscape to match its inner vision.
Inscape represents a cluster of different but complementary concepts such as: company’s culture, it’s peculiar organization, its myths and legends, but also groups policies, procedures, the engine able to produce and keep company’s uniqueness.
Landscape groups the concepts of interest, stakeholder, pressure, competition, opportunity, unknown.
Inscape is instead about having roots, origin, thoughts, feelings, deep knowledge, sometimes places art and aesthetics.
But where inscape ends? Where instead landscape begins?
There’s no end in reality, if a company works.
In biology, homeostasis is the state of steady internal physical and chemical conditions maintained by living systems.
This dynamic state of equilibrium applies for firms too. The conditions of optimal functioning for the organism and includes many variables, such as body temperature and fluid balance, being kept within certain pre-set limits. Each of these variables is controlled by one or more regulators or homeostatic mechanisms, which together maintain life.
So between the inscape of a well -functioning firm and its landscape there should be the same relationship we may find among communicating vessels.
In facts, communicating vessels are an inspiring metaphor for understanding the functional link between the aspiration and the goals that a firm is trying to set and realize in the landscape, and the limits and constraints of its inscape. One aspect cannot be separated from the other.
The principle of communicating vessels states that the liquid contained in two containers communicating with each other (no matter how different they are) is, in normal conditions, at the same level. So the way a company acts in its inscape is immediately reflecting on the landscape, and the other way around like in a mirror tunnel.
From this assumption two consequences are deriving: a healthy company is one able to keep a dynamic equilibrium between landscape and inscape, no matter its size, no matter how big the landscape may be.
Second, there’s no place for compartmentalization of strategic thoughts: if firm’s action is not about “we, if inscape and landscape are just seen as watertight compartments, that would certainly represent a huge problem. Hopefully, this could represent for some companies just a momentary lapse of vision.
Future is about staying in balance and connecting with creativity and culture both inside and outside of firm’s borders through interaction and not with an on demand and intermittent (and sometimes one -way) communication.