Home » Archive » Forget tailor-made, just get it second-hand.

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

In an offline note a good friend challenges the concept of new, tailor-made companies. Instead he asks, “What about companies that need tailors … companies that need a new dress, ugly companies, those ones that need new shoes … couldn’t this group help them?”

Absolutely. And, as he suggests, perhaps it is a better place to start.

The riddle behind this idea is how to find cash flow early. Dropping into and refining an existing company is a good way to take care of that problem.

He also debates the suggestion that this is possible without a champion … it may need a benevolent totalitarian. It might. But I haven’t met the person to do it yet.

This is small enough (just four right now) that an alpha dog isn’t even an idea worth entertaining. But will we ever need such a change?

Why do we need leadership of this kind? Does defaulting to the “single great leader” system do anything to position us for the ways of the future? If we could somehow cast off the preconceptions we’ve built or mindlessly accepted, is such a thing even an option?

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Commentary

Jeremy, too bad my earlier posting did not show up. Here it is:

I agree with the suggestion of “dropping into…to take care of that problem”. The problem with such companies is not, however, limited to cash flow issues. It could be a technology, market, or a system issue.

Unless we decide to act individually, as continuously being facilitated by technology, which is contrary to the proposition (need four acting as one), I still have difficulty seeing the idea taking off as soon as I believe it should with out a leader/champion.

My observation is the so-called Alpha… beta…. Are all managers. The several books, articles written on qualities of a “good leader” are almost always miserable attempts at defining past leaders. As opposed to a manager, we do not know a leader until he/she has become. Leaders, as opposed to managers, do not worry about building personality cults around their names. Leaders are pre-occupied with the subject of whatever it is they are engaged in and for the sake of it, and it alone. When they have done it, what ever it is they have done becomes bigger than their person.

Although I have entertained a somehow similar idea through the years you are the first one I found articulating this concept.

Who knows if you are the leader who could pull the first four, who would make-up the nucleus of what is to become…. Oh!!! It can be so much and so big, again, I can’t even imagine what. Who knows, how soon it takes off, and I can’t even imagine how far it would go.

I like to clarify a point from your last posting that “…this is possible without a champion … it may need a benevolent totalitarian.” Benevolent, yes. Certainly not a totalitarian. I will elaborate on this one some other time.

Thanks for making a clear distinction between leaders and managers. I’m as guilty of blurring the line as the books and magazine articles you mention. I often confuse the two and don’t have a pure understanding of what leadership truly involves.

But I agree that if people lead outwardly (focused on the need of the subject, rather than themselves) the result might be better for everyone.

If I were more explicit in the post, I would have explained that each member of the group must be a leader as you describe. Each leading in their unique abilities and insights. Each pointing at the outcome rather than themselves.

But I think you are arguing here for someone to lead the rest of the group – a leader of leaders. I suppose that works in this model if some one were brilliant in that kind of leadership. A genius for facilitating leadership among leading peers. If that’s what you have in mind, I support your perspective.

Maybe this is too closely tied to the urgency you expressed early in your comment. You wrote that you “have difficulty seeing the idea taking off as soon as [you] believe it should.” I am delighted you agree this is needed – but are you sure this idea is ready to move quickly?

I’m looking forward to your response. And, if you’re still interested, please elaborate on champion vs. totalitarian.

To be clear, the “cash flow” problem mentioned in the post was a challenge my proposition is facing rather than the companies we might work with. And you’re right that the problems faced by potential partners are likely to be quite diverse.

I do not know whether or not “the idea is ready to move quickly? I just believe it is a great idea. As you mentioned in an earlier note, may be some one is thinking about the same thing, may be someone is already doing it. I think you are correct in this. Therefore, I am suggesting all possibilities have to be explored to expedite its implementation. To me, the idea is so big, I am afraid it is going take so long to start, that it may be in danger of not materializing at all or get infested. That’s all.
I have been toying around with the concept “maintenance of consistency of purpose”. In order to have a consistency of purpose, one needs to have the purpose defined, plan the path as to how it is to be achieved and clearly establish the starting point to trudge that path. I believe so long as one stays on the path and the consistence of the original purpose is maintained one is bound to achieve that purpose. Did I ever explain what our logo represents?
I am not suggesting that “if you build it they will come”, a favourite phrase used by many think “been-counting” is the ultimate thing. Though necessary, “been-counting” alone does not tell the whole story. I sometimes get frustrated by those who are obsessed I fantasize about challenging one them not to fart until he/she has counted all the beans he/she has eaten. Guess what would happen. Enough rant.
My thoughts about champion vs. totalitarian would take me away from the discussion at hand and no time now. I would suggest though, that championship is earned while totalitarianism is bought.

Yetayale, in your mind, how does the model described in previous posts fit in the context of “dropping into companies to help take care of problems”? How does the group ensure the right incentives encourage the various players?

One of the key pieces in the model previously proposed is ownership by participating members in each of the small start-ups spun out of the forum. How does this figure in your understanding of working with already existing, already fully owned companies?

You never did explain your logo and I just took a peek – I can’t guess of what it represents. But I agree with your concept of consistency of purpose. Well, sortof.

I agree with the purpose part and disagree, perhaps out of misunderstanding, with the path part. As you’ve pointed out in earlier comments, how can we know the path much further than our next step? At least with purpose, this is less likely to change.

I am very interested in your understanding of leadership and now your comments on championship versus totalitarianism. If you like, email me with your ideas. I can summarize the ideas as I’ve done previously with other notes.