I subscribe to Marshall Goldsmith’s Ask The Coach blog from Harvard Business Review, and I recently listened to a podcast regarding his thoughts on his latest book, What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There.  Fascinating stuff on the changing role of leaders in our world.  It reminded me of our firm’s Thriveal Theory, why it was developed, and how we operate within that theory’s parameters.

There were five points he made on that particular blog post.  Here’s a recap of a few:

1.  In the future (which is now!) leaders will have to start thinking globally (he copied this from my Thriveal Theory… just kidding).  Not even the small business can resign itself to the local geography anymore.  Our world is global, and competition will be gained and lost at this level.  The fact that business is global will impact how new leaders think, act, hire, buy, sell and win!  I have no doubt that even our tax preparation and consulting engagements could start crossing the US borders in a few years (while we remain in our offices).

2.  Businesses will begin developing alliances and partnerships in order to survive.  And I feel this will directly impact and enhance the small businesses’ ability to compete in this global marketplace.  As larger businesses fail to make quick decisions, respond to market trends (which are becoming faster and faster), and meet the needs of younger more demanding employees, small businesses can step into strategic alliances with larger entities to provide services they can not provide themselves.  And expanding on Marshall’s thoughts here, I believe niche markets and “nano-focused” operations will be the place where the upcoming small business thrives!  The fact that the world is global (even for small businesses), and that large companies can’t respond to economic change the way they need to, small business will provide the needed lightning-quick support, management, technology, manufacturing, staffing, etc. that is needed for the larger entity.  The next 5 to 10 years will truly be the era of the small business.  I’m thankful for Marshall highlighting this fact.

3.  Marshall shared a great quote from Peter Drucker (the man who invented management) on the changes in new leadership models: “…the leader of the past knew how to tell.  The leader of the future will know how to ask.”  More and more workers are becoming what is know as knowledge workers.  They know more about their tasks than the boss does.  They know the information that is needed to run organizations.  And leaders in the future will not be able to manage these individuals as they did in the past – “you go here, and do this,” “you do this task at this speed with this result.”  Leaders may not know the stuff their employees know – therefore, they have to ask for guidance, how to do certain technological tasks, when to perform specific routines, and how best to perform them.  Can you believe the impact this how on you and me as leaders?  It’s amazing!  If we continue operating under the traditional model of management (tell people what to do), then we are destined to fail in this new trend.

These thoughts impact me in huge ways.  I feel like I have to hurry and tell my clients that are practicing the wrong models of management – before their businesses implode.  And these models hit home with me in so many ways.  I own a media, motion design and high-end videography and cinematography business with some other partners.  I have no skills in these areas.  I only possess the ability to manage tasks, people, a complicated business model, and obtaining the end product (satisfied clients and cash).  Someone asked me, as a consulting CPA, why I own this type of company?  I could only answer with the thoughts reflected in this post.  You have to know how to manage now, not necessarily how to do what other people in the organization do (I can’t design one freakin’ lick).

The implications to these new management techniques are far-reaching.  Don’t just read over them and shrug.  Make changes now… and win!

I’m interested in knowing what you think…

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer