Is Individual Contribution Still Relevant in Big Business?

Stop for a minute and consider…

 Vertical Management Structure is Dead

Having been in the business world for 30+ years, I have watched the changes. The days of vertical management structure are dead. I can’t even picture life without a cross-functional team… Can some of you remember your boss pulling you into his office and tasking you individually to deliver a result on a deadline? Aaah… distant memories. Today, goals don’t get assigned without group involvement – specialists working together to provide a unique contribution to the whole…

Is Experience an Asset, or a Liability?

Back in the day, the person that understood the whole picture was valued and may have spent a lifetime developing a deeper understanding of broader processes. Today, the average job tenure is 3-5 years. As a result, corporations are no longer able to leverage their investment in training. The organizational structure has evolved accordingly. The lack of focus on a specialty and its contribution to the team, may have an enormous impact on the team dynamic and potentially put the end-goal in jeopardy. The experience that is required today… is having had a role in successful team projects in the industry of your chosen career. NOT, the broader knowledge of the engineering, production management, marketing, account management, or even skill as a personnel manager handling direct reports.

Can Previous Generations Change Their Thinking?

I spent an entire career developing what I thought was a knowledge and skill set that was desired. I have had experience in every role in my industry, from front-line to back-office to executive management. The days of Tom Peters style business thinking are dead. Entrepreneurship in a broader organization is no longer a desired trait (fewer small businesses are being started today too). OK, so how do we re-invent ourselves?

 Specialization is the Key

Analyze your most effective traits. Ask yourself, in what role are you most successful? Stop trying to understand the bigger picture, focus on making yourself better at that one thing and hone your skills with different communication styles. While I will never fully embrace this kind of thinking, it IS the reality today and therefore the new path to a successful career!

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