There’s no shortage of corporate workshops telling folks to dream big.
But what a lot of mid-sized companies sometimes need most is the ability to reimagine themselves small. Dreaming small begins by asking, “How would we do things if we were just starting out?” When answered and acted on honestly, this small question permits companies to transform their business from backroom to front-office, and everywhere between.
Thinking like a “little” big company requires discipline. Small dreamers can draw on all the knowledge, technology, and financial assets that their company has accrued as it has scaled. But to rethink how they deploy these resources, they should use the conservative mindset of a startup company. This will often make you consider how you will give your customers the most for the least, except now you may be able to fill in many of the blanks in your customer service that you had to skip when your business was new.
Getting there, however, requires companies to ask the “What if we were just starting out?” question in every situation, then follow it with, “What capabilities can we use now that we didn’t have then, to be successful, and still not go overboard or lose focus on running a larger business like a small company?” This isn’t an easy exercise, particularly where people are concerned. If you were a young company, how many employees would you need? Would it be the 400 you have now?
Encouraging this line of thinking has helped shape the way some mid- to large-sized companies address their operating model components, and the resources they need to make meaningful change. With the right balance, positioning, use of talent, infrastructure, and technology, medium and large enterprises can be as agile as the nimblest newcomer.