Business leaders are often fascinated by military tactics, and with understandable reason: They see themselves as waging battle against challenging incumbents and evading minefields in the marketplace. But there is a radically different, equally important way of understanding business — and it often goes overlooked. It is the way business mimics biology.
Bruce Henderson, the late founder of Boston Consulting Group (BCG), wrote about this concept in 1989. He insisted that a plan of attack created purely through logic and imagination was insufficient to win in the real world. A successful strategy had to recognize the complex web of natural competition and laws of nature that govern competitive advantages of all species — including people, who compete primarily with each other through commerce.