We’ve gone video crazy in the A2B office – here’s our second one of the week.
A2B Consultant Cari Hewer discovered this piece from long-time US consultancy, Bain & Co. It’s a superb discussion of why inertia seeps into large organisations.
Officially, it’s an answer to entrepreneurs and founders who successfully make that miracle transformation from minnow to giant, and then wonder why their astronomical growth starts to tail off, why the flavour of the business has changed, why they spend so much time buried in spreadsheets and yet still have no idea what’s actually going on.
And indeed, there are some aspects of the Bain analysis which are specific to high-growth businesses; for example the problem of a business which expands faster than it can hire top talent to support that growth. Or founder-directors who find scaling up too much to handle.
But it’s just as valid for established large organisations and public sector departments – especially the ones who want to make small changes and see some pretty big results. Here, Bain beautifully articulate some of the challenges; and some solutions which we wholeheartedly agree with.
In large organisations, functional specialists apply their knowledge well – but when did anyone last visit the front line to see what the customer experience looks like?
In large organisations, people concentrate on spreadsheets because accountability is statistical, based on maths – but when did anyone last connect the maths to qualitative and experiential inputs?
And above all, Bain say that large companies converge around the average – whether that’s the average (and often non-existent) customer or the average throughput which becomes the norm; whereas in startups, exceptional is non-negotiable.
All of this can be fixed. Incremental change can yield remarkable outcomes – and a blend of vision, communication and collaboration can recreate the energy of a startup. This video is well worth your time.