Paradigm Shift in the Business World
In today’s business world, as technology advancements empower companies to this perpetual drive for productivity, a paradigm shift is emerging slowly but surely from the marketplace. Large companies are getting smaller, small companies are getting tinier, and tiny companies are becoming the industry leaders in the product and service offerings of their respective niches.
This trend is most noticeable in the tech sector, where startups sprout from mere daydreams (what business plan?) to challenge the system. More often than not, winning spoils from behemoths. These companies would offer only one or two products at the very best, sometimes only targeting one or two clients at any given point. If we dig a little deeper into these firms’ day-to-day operations, we will find that their successes are only hinged on a handful of talented individuals generating value for their clients. In other words, a very small team with far fewer resources is all that is required to deliver an impact. These teams are more agile, more efficient, and more focused than other seemingly more endowed players, forcing people to rethink their business strategies.
Rise of the boutique firms
But how did these boutique firms achieve this unparalleled level of power? A common thread among the successful ones is their ability to process information, digest knowledge, and generate actionable insights faster than their peers. We are living in an age of information overload. The proliferation of knowledge means that the line between a learned individual, an experienced individual, and a manager is increasingly blurred. The top-down autocracy where managers would give orders and drive for results is increasingly seen as an artifact of yesteryears. Today, managers are expected to provide guidance, apprenticeship, and expertise. Instead of it being about “control,” leadership is more about piquing the curiosity and empowering the team to drive productivity.
As the firms get increasingly specialized in their fields, gone are the days where a one-size-fits-all management style can be rigidly applied without heavy customization. The talent pool is also getting increasingly diverse. A person who has no applicable skills in a particular field might be a highly sought-after talent in another.
How should firms develop themselves?
Let’s tackle this question on two fronts.
First, be more comfortable handling data. We have always been living in a data-driven world. It is just that not so long ago, access to good data is only limited to a privileged few. High-volume and high-speed data processing and analytics will always help us arrive at that actionable insight ahead of our competition. Some people might find comfort in delaying skill acquisition. After all, it is a daunting task to learn all these new tools. But we must ask ourselves: how much time do we really have before this skill becomes an expectation? When was the last time you asked your typist to prepare something?
Second, interpersonal skills should never be discounted. Being able to bring conviction to the table and influence others will give us the upper hand. After all, humans are social animals. From all walks of life, People thrive on relationships. Relatable experiences shape behaviors and positive behaviors generally lead to greater success.
The author of this blog Bruce Wan is a Senior Consultant at Trindent Consulting.