10 Shifts I have Seen in The Last Decades
The world has become more connected, unpredictable, and fast-paced. Many assumptions, methods, and business models can no longer hold.
Here is a list of shifts I have been seeing or experiencing.
1. Purpose over strategy
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.” - Simon Sinek
There is a shift towards a focus on purpose or mission.
Purpose acts as an anchor in the face of change and an uncertain, fast-paced, and connected world. A great mission or purpose attracts talents.
Many companies have had to pivot and change their strategies and business models as technology advances and customers’ wants and needs evolve and still find success. The reason is they have always led with purpose. Think of Disney and Netflix as excellent examples.
2. Speed over scale
Companies may have the scale, the money, and resources, but if they cannot deliver fast and pivot faster, the scale will not help much. On the contrary, it can hinder you due to all the overheads and politics involved in managing the scale. An example is Nokia vs. Waze.
3. Access over ownership
The lighter the balance sheet, the better. Why own when you can have on-demand access. Think AWS for servers, Uber for rides, and the many SaaS companies that offer subscription-based services.
4. Experiments/bets over fixed plan
Organizations and individuals need to think in terms of bets and experiments rather than a fixed course of actions to build adaptability and resiliency. When we commit resources to a big fixed plan, we risk falling into the sunk cost bias.
5. Effectiveness over efficiency
With technological advancements in big data and AI, it has never been easier to get insights into what matters to our customers. You can think of efficiency as inward-focused, while effectiveness is outward-focused.
There is no point in automating a process that serves the wrong goal. I have seen this countless times in my previous incarnations.
6. Staff On-Demand over full-time hiring
The future workforce will be a mix of a core team and a network of on-demand staff. It is already happening. You can outsource anything to Upwork, Fiverr, and even Kaggle for machine learning problems to solve.
7. Small over big
Smaller teams are more manageable, flexible, nimble, and agile. Also, smaller teams allow for greater accountability and focus.
That also seems to be the case for countries; smaller countries like Singapore or Finland are among the best governed globally. It could just be a correlation.
I found it true for food as well.
8. Autonomy over control
“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.” - Daniel H. Pink
In a world that requires real-time customer support, responsiveness is key. Autonomy empowers teams to be responsive to the changing demands of customers. Autonomy shortens the decision-making process.
9. Work-from-anywhere over work-from-office
The 4-Hour Week by Tim Ferris is to blame :)
Working from anywhere is a competitive advantage to attract talent. Organizations that are not embarrassing this shift are losing or will lose.
10. Create over consume
There has never been a better time to build and create. Democratization of digital technologies and tools lowers the barriers to innovation and creation. In 2021 thus far, creator-focused startups have received approximately $2 billion in investment funding.