Till this point we talked only about technology and its impact on the project without taking into account the manager, the leadership and the company. These elements bring in the human element and its pitfalls to the job. For this one reason, I feel behaviour sciences need to be explored more not only wrt economics but practically all domains of management. My articles do not claim to be any authority but reflect my point of view developed by working, reading and observing.
In our first article we talked that from managerial point of view, the main stumbling blocks can be:
- poor choice of technology
- poor choice of development methodology
- lack of focus on long-term vision with complete focus on speed
We shall explore them. But even before that, a lot depends on the company vision and the corresponding leadership policy.
Company vision defines the existence of a corporation. Why does the corporation exist in the first place? How ambitious and flexible is it towards growth? I have seen a lot of family and privately owned businesses stagnating as their sole purpose is to earn money for its owners, as a stable source of income or to do some limited good work in its sphere. There are yet others that come up due to the Government's policy changes and new legislation or those that manage to entrench themselves in a monopolistic niche. One thing strikingly common is that many of these ventures aim to neither be the "best" nor have a long term growth plan. There is no vision to the ambition. In Jim Collins words, these are companies who have figured out a way to be good but have not thought of being great by choice or chance. In cases when they do, some truly amazing companies or professions result from that.
The problems, to name a few, that arise from company's lack of vision for its growth are as follows:
- A small company does not have any use for too many leaders. This would generally translate into a senior rung of management with a big vacuum beneath. This can blow in the company's face in time
- Lack of growth will ultimately frustrate ambitious & able executives and employees alike, who may ultimately leave for better avenues. This is especially true for the Sales force
- A "family" atmosphere and nepotism can take roots more easily in a family run enterprise, seriously affecting the company's long-term future
- Ultimately competition will come calling, and if they are growth oriented, it will prove disastrous for the parent company
Having said that, there are some advantages to be had by working for a small company in its setting up phase:
- it will give you the opportunity to interact with and witness all aspects of business. This may prove critical in your growth as a leader who has a strong general awareness
- you get to see the whole product development lifecycle very closely, again adding to your leadership potential
- if (a big if) you can affect the company to make the leap and it succeeds, the dividends are yours to have
- in the initial growth phase learning is very profound and comprehensive due to the chaos associated with starting a venture, these things may be hard to learn in any big company and will serve you well when you want to do something on your own
Summarizing, in general limiting of vision ultimately reduces the company's efficiency and affects its supply of leaders. This is true at least for the technology industry where change is too rapid for comfort of the conservative. Ambition with vision can be the currency of speed. If your employees know that they are not a "cog in the wheel" but are actually contributing to something important that will affect at least their lives positively, it will help to speed up work and check attrition. A good work-life balance, an understanding manager, "just" compensations and good employees facilities can be the icing on the cake, but it is not the cake that can satiate the hunger. I feel that nothing can replace the electric, palpitating combination of vision and ambition.