ANTIGENcy

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Inoculating companies against inaction, irrelevance, inflexibility and instability.

Affinity

In immunology, affinity is the attraction of an antibody to an antigen. In the corporate sense, affinity is the attraction of a solution to a problem. Simple huh? Not really.

Yesterday I was “attacked” by an immunologist in the RTP who thought my metaphor was preposterous and worse, lame. He claimed that it was again, opportunistic marketing looking for a new trend. He went on to politely discard my idea as moronic and told me that I didn’t know enough about science to draw from it. Probably. But fuck him.  By that logic we all must stop saying “Rocket Science” or “Rocket Surgery.”

I heard what he was saying. I even agreed with him on a base level. Beyond that, what an idiot! He claimed that I ought to know what I was talking about before I ventured into the pristine science of immunology.

Here is what I want and what I am doing:

I believe we are all heading into an evolved state of business. A state that is now capable of moving, changing, replicating, infecting, killing other businesses. It has always happened, it is now just happening faster. And in the future it will move yet faster. We will learn to adapt to it. But how will we learn? What is the most effective way to set ourselves up to the task of seeing, accepting and adapting to business change?

I am arguing that by borrowing from biology, we can create new frameworks to see, accept/reject, create, adapt and inoculate in ways that create advantage. I want to help change perspective. To create a new environment to see things through a metaphor that extends one’s perceptions.

I am mapping out what I believe are to be generally accepted hierarchies of problems (antigens) that are or will affect a company’s well being (body). There are a lot of them.  I am creating parallels between management consulting and immunology to help me frame methods for dealing with these problems by using creative/unconventional solutions like design thinking (antibodies).

What is most interesting so far is how well the science of immunology and the art of enterprise transformation correspond to one another. It makes me wonder why I wasn’t thinking about this while working on my last big digital transformation consultation last year.

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One Powerful Antigen :: Staff Departures

People leave their employers for many reasons. At any given time, up to 20% of the average company’s staff is preparing to leave. This could mean they are adjusting their resumes, searching online for other jobs, updating Linked In and sifting through Monster or Careerbuilder RSS feeds while you are paying them for their allegiance.

So if you have 1000 employees, 150 of them per year will quit for one reason or another. This is typically an ongoing cycle that most companies willingly accept for lack of understanding.

Now for the harsh reality. Multiply 150 annual staff departures by $13,500 which is the average cost to interview, hire, train and integrate an employee who makes $50,000/year.

That’s $2,0250,000 per year in HR costs because 150 people aren’t engaged, challenges or satisfied as they need to be.

Lack of employee engagement is one of the antigens in our database. This antigen costs the average 1000 person company over $2 million/year.

While we are building the antigen (lack of employee engagement) we are also building the antibody (deeper engaged employee loyalty) to counter effects of this killer.

If I were in charge of human capital or served in any HR function, this would demand some of my focus.

This is an example of what ANTIGENcy is hired to do.

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