Mortar – the ideal metaphor for the purpose of Governance

Enterprises are always looking for new ways, in order to set themselves up in the best way by smartly distributing the tasks. In the past the tasks were divided into as small parts as possible and provided with goals that unfortunately did not always fit to each other. As a result there are the corporate areas research & development, production, sales and so on. Today everybody makes efforts to reverse this development and to implement holistic solutions with process orientation and agile organization. No matter how you set up yourself, you need a connecting element between the parts – the governance. In order to explain the purpose of governance, mortar that joins building blocks to a stable whole is a good metaphor.

The interactions of many functions, units and employees within enterprises must be ensured. The following attributes of the Governance should enable this interaction.

  • Leveling
    Without mortar, it is very difficult to build a custom-fit masonry. The unevenness of the stones corresponds to the blurring of the components of a company. The adaptable mortar compensates for unevenness and connects the blocks in the right plumb line.
    Accordingly, the governance provides answers, which are not so critical within the individual areas, but ensure the accuracy between each other by balancing the scope of action across all areas.
  • Cohesion
    After the stones are piled up with the moist mortar to the desired wall, the whole dries to a stone-like mass. The walls hold together as if they were made of one stone. At the same time, the joints are designed to absorb climatic fluctuations.
    Governance must be prepared to cope with fluctuations in business requirements, e.g. through a common set of values that provides a framework for difficult times.
  • Stability
    You cannot simply put stones together with mortar. An overall statics is required for the wall to fulfill its tasks. The overall plan provides the basis for this. If the static of the building is OK, i.e. if there are no imbalances that let the wall collapse over time, then the build-up will likely last for a long time.
    Accordingly, it is not enough to introduce governance. The building blocks must also be meaningfully aligned to each other, e.g. through a shared vision and long-term goals.

As the mortar is the binder between stones, the jointly decided governance holds the enterprise together and ensures that everybody is aligned to the same direction.

Bottom line: There are rarely walls that work without mortar. The same applies to companies that do not function without governance. Therefore, to convey the purpose of governance, mortar is a good example, as it allows any   sizes of walls and stabilizes buildings. The crucial thing is to connect the parts of the company in such a way that they stick together and perform their tasks in a stable way. In this sense, mix your mortar and ensure that way the cohesion of your area.

P.S.: See also the elements of Governance.