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    WiredBIZ Articles: Trends

    Something New is Trying to Emerge

    By Rick Tonita, Global Partners Inc.
    Oct 5, 2006, 18:46
    E-Mail Article
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    The Purpose of a Company or Organization


    What is the purpose of a company or organization? Is it to maximize return to its owners? Is it to provide an answer to a need in society?


    How should the success of a company or organization be measured? By the amount of profit it earns? By the amount of people it adds value to? By the totality of what it leaves in its wake?


    Is a company or organization responsible for the footprint it leaves in a community, a country or the planet?


    What is our mental model of what the structure of a company or organization looks like? Is it a twentieth century pyramid like structure – power exerted down through a bureaucracy and an environment of competition and politicking for promotions to get to the ever narrowing top of the pyramid? Or is it a twenty-first century structure with two parallel lines – people networking and collaborating for mutual success to create what matters?


    Michael Hammer, one the world’s foremost business thinkers, wrote of the twentieth century structure: “We were never so in love with freedom, independence, and risk – were never, in a word, so entrepreneurial – that we blithely brushed aside the value of employment security. To oversimplify (but not by much), at the heart of the old company culture was a deal: obedience and diligence in exchange for security, security for obedience and diligence.


    The essence of the new structure in the modern organization is an exchange: initiative for opportunity. The company offers people the opportunity, and often the educational means to achieve personal success; in return the people promise the company to exercise initiatives in creating value for customers and thereby profits for the company.


    Like it or not security, stability, and continuity are out, because there simply isn’t anyone on the scene who can provide them. The company can’t because the customer won’t.” Source: The Organization of the Future published by the Drucker Foundation


    Something New is Trying to Emerge


    In our last article “Entrepreneurs and WiredBIZ” we shared research around the shift that happened in the mid-90’s. This shift was in our outlooks and described the entrepreneurial mindset that was starting to take place. So much so that today close to 60% of people in Canada and the United States claim they would like to start their own business.


    We also shared research that illustrated how work can be contracted to any place in the world that has access to IT infrastructure. Much of North American accounting work, call centers, etc is contracted out to firms in India. One of the Indian services that caught my attention was an organization that acted as your personal assistant.  The firm was made up MBA’s, graphic artists, writers, accountants, etc. You could hire them for $2,500 per month. E-mail the work you wanted done or call them and they would have it on your desk by the next morning.


    Ray Kurzweil is considered to be a genius in his field. He is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a twenty year track record of accurate predictions. Called the ‘relentless genius’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘the ultimate thinking machine’ by Forbes magazine, Kurzweil was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which described him as the ‘rightful heir’ to Thomas Edison. PBS selected him as one of sixteen revolutionaries who made America, along with other inventors of the past two centuries.


    His achievements would take pages to list. Ray states in his book The Singularity is Near:We won’t experience one hundred years of technological advance in the twenty-first century; we will witness on the order of twenty thousand years of progress (again when measured by today’s rate of progress), or about one thousand times greater than what was achieved in the twentieth century."


    We tend to think in a linear way: 1 + 1 = 2 + 1 = 3 etc. We see the future happening at same pace of change that is currently happening or that has happened in our life time. Ray Kurzweil communicates that change in the twenty-first century is happening exponentially: 2 X 2 = 4 X 4 = 16 X 16 = 256 etc. This is the way we want to learn to think and envision change.


    Let’s recap:


    ·          Twentieth century structures are struggling to survive and offer little security

    ·          Most of us want to be entrepreneurs and are probably a little scared of the risk

    ·          Change in the twenty-first century is going to accelerate at an ever increasing rate

    ·          It is clear that something new is trying to emerge – what is it?


    The Chance of a Life Time


    How many times have we heard these words? For most people, what immediately pops into their mind is “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.”


    What is the chance of a lifetime? We have the opportunity to define and create an entrepreneurial structure for the twenty-first century. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?


    To begin, let’s agree to stretch our minds. Let’s try not to use any of our twentieth century mental models to envision an entrepreneurial structure for the twenty-first century. Let’s try to think exponentially rather then linearly. It is important to leave behind or be open about what we think we know. Let’s use what we know to identify what we don’t like about the twentieth century structures and business ventures and what we do like……we will use both as a checklist with which to measure the new structure we design……fair enough?  


    Richard Branson, the majority owner of the Virgin group of companies (over 200 in all), stated: “The reason I went into business originally, was not because I thought I could make a lot of money, but because the experiences I had personally with businesses were dire and I wanted to create an experience that I and my friends could enjoy.”


    Let’s revisit a few paragraph from our last article Entrepreneurs and WiredBIZ.


    Over the next months through a series of articles, we at Global Partners intends to explore what we believe defines the work of the entrepreneurs of the future. Developing a network of leaders from all sectors of the human community—who understand how to harness the collective power of small groups to co-create better futures, And what's more, to do it with a standard of excellence and professionalism unsurpassed by any other organization or institution.  


    What are the structures of the future? What are customers asking for? How do entrepreneurs want to live and work in the future? How can we honor our offers and promises?  How do we build global networks of entrepreneurs? How do we work together in manner that generates predictable and sustainable growth? Who are the leading minds in the fields of customer research, marketing, the cognitive sciences (how we learn) and what is being discovered about personal, leadership and organizational development? 


    We observe that companies are moving to globalization through buyouts, expansion and mergers.  What is the entrepreneur’s answer to this? We believe the structure we define will be the entrepreneur’s answer to globalization and that it will have a strategic advantage because of the unique manner in which only entrepreneurs can add value to their customers.


    A business is about filling real needs in society perceived or not yet perceived.  Bill Gates filled a need not yet perceived by evolving software that added tremendous value to the average person’s personal and professional live. The Bill Gates, Paul Allen story is so indicative to what Peter Senge and his groups are doing with the Global Leadership Initiative to create global change – harnessing the collective power of small groups to co-create better futures.


    Remember Gates and Allen were a small group of college students contracted to IBM and now Microsoft spans the globe. One last comment on filling real needs as a basis for creating a new entrepreneurial model. Our consulting firm Global Partners uses Microsoft Windows and we have discussed the value it adds to our business on a daily basis versus the cost to license the product. We believe that if every user was charged in accordance to the added value and productivity increases they receive as a result of the software, Mr. Gates would be infinitely wealthier then he is. This is a good example to keep in mind - add value way beyond the cost of our product or service.


    Do you want to be part of defining an entrepreneurial organization that is the best in the world at what it does? Until our next article I would like to leave you with research conducted by Fred Crawford of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Ryan Mathews of FirstMatters LLC. In conducting their research they interviewed over 10,000 consumers as to what they wanted in relation to the five attributes of Access, Experience, Price, Product and Service. As you review this information contemplate a structure that could provide customers the top two attributes in each category.    



    Something new is trying to emerge. A former boss once commented: “If you investigate my background you will find I have been bankrupt a couple of times. It is obvious I don’t know all the do’s of business but I do know most of the don’ts and I promise we will stay away from them.” Let create the do’s and stay away from the don’ts in the design of our entrepreneurial structure.

    Rick Tonita
    Global Partners Inc.
    (604) 531-8123 Ext: 230

    We welcome your feedback at

    Global Partners Inc. is a consulting company that specializes in working with direct selling organizations. They have invested 11 years in applying leading edge research from multiple disciplines to evolve value delivery chains for selecting and developing successful entrepreneurs and for creating exceptional customer experiences.

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