small to medium business structure

Recently I was attending a conference on „New Work“. The intend of this community project being to find answers facing developments like IOT, digital automation and the Industrial Internet (or Industrie 4.0). And eventually influence the nature, the culture and the face of work. Up to the point of singularity, for us not the end of human creativity, but the end of humans filling the gaps for the incapabilities of machines.

Frankly though I went there to get inspirations on how to organize SMBs. An ongoing challenge and continuous matter of discussion. Obviously there’s experience and practice established, but keeping everybody contributing to the business and the pressure on margins and efficiency low, stays a constant challenge.

So far our structure of small to medium business is influenced mainly by talents of people:

  • Risk takers. Prepared for new challenges, being it profession or lead. Value change and get bored by ever lasting assignments. Invest efforts to get into something and accept potentially looking stupid initially. Ready to explore and even define a new profession. Not really into lifetime positions or fan of continuity. The spirit is about building new IP, increase the information base and to lay the ground for new developments. Aware that career means ups and downs.

  • Profession intense. Strive after mastery, constantly about improving the profession learned. Value is about the profession, less prepared to step into something alien or to expose outside of the very sweet spot. It’s about best practice, about the love to constantly improve and fight detail. Not really tempted to get into new stuff, but to become the best in what they do. Building the foundation of developments, the fix points of value and quality added.

  • In search of self-esteem. Missing or lost self-esteem. One can’t see the talent behind a person, it’s buried and doesn’t feel like exposing. Every business, of course SMBs have a scalable advantage, has the task to find a challenge and a chance to build and grow self-esteem. Grow towards capability to decide for risk taking or profession intense.

These three talents will be combined into small teams. Small to limit planning, coordination and meeting overhead. There is rarely a need for big teams in creative. And the combination of team is typically profession intense in the middle with risk takers and in search of self-esteem around them. Risk takers add value, transitioning from profession to lead and back, filling the gaps and requirements originating from technical innovation and industry practices. As result creative projects almost always yield knowledge and new experiences paramount for production developments.

If risk takers loose risk taking, developments get tough and increase of information suffers. Consequently static structures with no-risk-takers become a risk for small business. On the same token it’s paramount to offer risk takers as well as profession intense room to develop, opportunities to shine and proof of being part of the team. In line with that and probably the most important task, is to support and develop in search of self-esteem. As anybody might be falling in this gap. This is how it’s working for us. So far, open end.

„New Work“ will continue to find new jobs, opportunities and valuations. But the project will only succeed if the focus and emphasis is on people.

2016/03/09 by Eberhard Frank

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