from eZines.com 7/13 enhanced by Peter/CXO
When you typically think of a “business,” the image that usually comes to mind is an enterprise existing for the purpose of profit – and the more profit the better. That’s what capitalism is all about, right? The entrepreneurial dream of starting from nothing and making it big – like Ray Kroc did with McDonald’s, or Michael Dell with Dell Computers – is the American Dream.
Turn-about. That image makes a 180-degree turn in Bo Burlingham’s book “Small Giants”. He’s identified and analyzed 14 businesses that “choose to be great instead of big. Why would a business intentionally try to keep a lid on growth? Quite simply, “So it doesn’t lose its soul”. Author Burlingham calls it “mojo.” How does a company get this mojo to begin with? The author notes these common elements in the companies he profiled:
● A “culture of Intimacy”
● Close ties to their Communities
● Personal, one-on-one Relationships with customers & suppliers
Blocking Bigness. As a business grows, it becomes harder and harder to keep these elements in place, so consequently the “Small Giants” chose to keep “bigness” out of their business equation. Of particular interest was the Author’s discussion of the “culture of intimacy” fostered in the Small Giants. He identified three imperatives that are pursued to create it:
CULTURE of INTIMACY
1. Significance. Articulating, demonstrating, & imbuing the company with a higher purpose. This is not a “mission statement” – rather, it’s a framework that makes the work meaningful for employees, and “continually reminds them how their contribution matters, and why they should care about giving their best effort.”
2. Caring. Reminding people – in unexpected ways – how much the company cares about them. This goes beyond the usual perks, awards, & bonuses, by “doing what most companies wouldn’t dream of doing or by using one of the standard tools in an unusual way.”
3. Collegiality. Author is referring to “feelings that employees have towards one another, the mutual trust & respect they feel, the enjoyment they get out of spending time together, their willingness to work through any conflicts that might arise, their collective pride in what they do, & their collective commitment to doing it well.”
It’s understandable how this would be easier to achieve in smaller scale companies, but does that mean that it’s folly to believe that the Culture of Intimacy could be achieved in a high growth, dynamically expanding company? Author doesn’t suggest it’s impossible. It’s just more difficult.
[ the Bane of Big (dis-advantages), 14 Remarkable Companies, Key Qualities of Small Giants in Premium Content]