Size and figures matter to all of us. Notion of what size or figures are appropriate or optimal varies from things to things. We would try to explore whether there could be a universal definition or norm for what is right.
Companies, which are small in size, find it hard to survive in face of bigger ones. When these companies start to do it right, they get success and grow to become big. But, things that they do to get success are precisely what are put by them on the back burner after becoming big! This is what has happened with several companies like Dell, Ford Motor, Siemens, BlackBerry etc.
What is orchestrated below may not be new; but what is surely new is extent of damage the banes can do to the beauty of an organization or even individual!
What bring small size a success
Everything is small in size to start with. Size should not deter anyone to pursue what delivers results. Experience shows that if small organizations focus on following, apart from sound skills and initiative, success do chase them:
- Personalized touch
- Flexibility to changes
- Identifying with customer issues
- More listening and less leaving things to chances
- Courtesy and openness
So, if you do it right, reward comes as a matter of your right. No one can prevent you to grow and take a prime position.
Blooms and glooms of becoming big
Becoming big has a beauty and bliss! It has a trail of success stories. There are many positive aspects – cost competitiveness, growing opportunities, talent development and several others. I would sum up these in just 2 points – a. Ability to set trends and traditions b. Breadth of product range and depth of services.
But, nature does not allow anything to survive unipolar! So, a beauty has its ugly side too; right is accompanied with wrong and positive can’t exist without negative. So, a big size organization (or even an individual having big image) has its share of shortcomings. Things like greater inertia due to hierarchies and structures, loss of transparency, life becoming more mechanical and rule oriented, work-life imbalance, financial figures and on line forms ruling more than 80% of employees’ life, rivalries and politics are some among many, which big size companies struggle with. Let us deal with 3 issues, which in fact mushroom into many.
Loss of Simplicity
Complexities increase in direct proportion to the size! It is very difficult to “keep it simple”, despite sermons of top CEOs.
Organization’s structure and systems to quality assurance assume a complex form with increasing size. After all, there are experts for everything and their jobs can’t be justified without making things complicated. Loss of simplicity is gain for inertia and loss in decision making.
Problems of one bring privileges for another! This is how consulting firms have also become big in backyard of their big clients!
Loss of human touch
This is single biggest cause of employee frustration.
I have been privy to 2 organizations growing from smaller scale to large scale. Employees in these organizations increasingly found their top bosses inaccessible. Feedback system and most development programs going online stimulated their isolation and fury. Their fate would hinge on a single yearly appraisal system. Story is no less grim on touch with customers and hence market!
Gain of arrogance and ego
Let us face this bitter reality – size of ego and arrogance of many employees, especially with sales and marketing or customer facing functions, goes hand in hand with size of the organization they serve! If successful organizations start to face heat and heap of problems, this is one major factor to blame!!
Supervisors and subordinates alike are vociferous in defending their delays, slippages and mistakes. Moreover, as an example, I have observed employees of big consulting firms exploiting faith put on them by their customers, securing business by creating fear psychosis and demanding undue premium on their services. Fault, no doubt, also lies with those organizations, which have love for size, but not skills; swear by name, but not by merit!
How to accentuate Beauty!
Most companies worldwide boast of hosting numerous programs for development of leadership, personality and various other attributes. Factually, these are all aimed at developing a style but not a character. It is for this reason that these programs trigger euphoria but not a change.
What we need is a program to build character of every employee, whose output should be measured by “degree of Seriousness, Simplicity and Sincerity”. It is absolutely plausible to do it.
When this is done, size of an organization would not matter. Imagine charisma of a beauty (of any organization or individual), which is preserved without time line; but its banes managed all the time!