We all have so often heard the phrase ‘too big to fail’. But in the modern era, it is sometimes better to be smaller than your competitors. Moments before I was drafting this post, I was sitting in front of my television at home, watching a UFC wrestling match. It was taking place between Valesquez and Rothwell. Valesquez is shorter, lighter, weighed lesser and had less reach than Rothwell. Before the match, commentators were fantasizing about how Rothwell was being taller, heavier, weighed more was more likely to win the competition.
But the moment the match began, Valesquez surprised everyone with his ingenuity. Rothwell’s weight and height clearly worked against him. Valesquez gripped Rothwell’s left foot tightly and in the blink of an eye, fell him like a giant oak tree. From then on, it was Valesquez all the way. Rothwell didn’t even look like he was going to finish the first round. In fact, in the last thirty seconds, he had stopped putting any resistance at all against his smaller opponent.
In an age where getting bigger and bigger is all everyone talks about everywhere, it is good to see such non-confirming evidences around us. They teach us so much about what it takes to win in life. Bill Gates has often been quoted saying that a good start-up can make Microsoft go out of business. What he meant by that statement was that a giant organization like Microsoft lacks the swiftness and agility that an upstart tech company possesses. The bureaucratic layers are so thick that by the time a decision is made, it becomes outmoded and outdated. Same is the case with investment firms too. It is very difficult for big investment firms to notice and take advantage of the numerous small opportunities that the market presents. No wonder Warren Buffett and his team at Berkshire is so small and focussed. In a market comprised of large armies of infantry soldiers with bayonets, Buffett has got a team of commandos armed with M16 assault rifles.
Now, the obvious thing that you might be thinking would be ‘So Dijo says keeping your organization/company small is the best way to maintain the edge’? Of course not. What I am saying is that most organizations and businesses stress so much on getting bigger that they lose sight of the factors that helped them establish themselves in the first place.
So when you shift your corporate/organizational objectives to outgrow your competitors, make sure that you do it without losing your ability to be agile and swift when the market conditions change from the present in the blink of an eye. Or you might face the same consequence that Rothwell just did.