“In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.” – Klaus Schwab
The phrase “Bigger is Better” has been taken as gospel by most of the world for years. Bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger boats, bigger whatever you want to have. In the business world the same thing has been considered true. Bigger means more resources, more talent, more opportunities, more everything. That’s one reason so many companies want to grow – they think if they can just be bigger they’ll be able to function so much more effectively.
But that phrase no longer has the meaning it once did. When the world moved more slowly, big businesses had time to gear up for change and bring all their resources to bear. Today’s world is changing so quickly that by the time you slowly and methodically gear up for change, the change you’re making is itself obsolete. In today’s world, the ability to change directions quickly and effectively has become a critical success factor in nearly every industry.
So what does that mean? Dozens of things. But here’s one for starters. If you’re trying to create a faster organization, think about how you identify and evaluate opportunities. Traditionally, new opportunities for an organization were identified from the top down. Management would have some kind of annual retreat where they discussed opportunities that might exist (maybe the same ones they’d discussed for years). Perhaps, every so often, they’d decide to try and take advantage of one of them.
That method is no longer relevant. You can’t just have a few people get together once a year and think you’re going to be fast. Not only do they need to get together more often, but you have to encourage and cultivate new ideas from all levels of the organization. How often do you consciously sit down and think about new opportunities for your business? How often do you intentionally seek out the ideas of people throughout the organization? And how long to you contemplate them before you either act or move on to the next thing?
The same thing could be said for how you deal with threats to your business. Your business can die faster now than ever before. How do you identify and deal with threats? What are you doing so that you can recognize and combat things that can damage you?
The point of all of this is that how you take in, process, and use information has to change. How you make decisions has to change. How you operate in your marketplace has to change. Or you could end up big, slow – and out of business.