By Ton Dobbe, Sep 14, 2020
Every week I interview entrepreneurs and experts from around the world to share their big idea about new forms of value creation and the potential we can unlock when technology augments the unique strengths of people to deliver remarkable impact.
I got inspired by the big idea behind Concentric Market; hence I invited CEO, Greg Silverman to my podcast. We explore how brands deliver revenue and value, and how a lot of intangible and hard to observe components influence how they remain relevant in a market. We dig into the key role people play in all of this, and what role technology should play to beyond just automation.
Be in charge of 'it,' rather than being in charge of 'them.'
Too many businesses are too focused on managing people, rather than managing the outcomes of the business at large. The focus is not on the leverage they can create by aligning their organization towards a bigger purpose and the full potential of their business. Consequently, people are focused on achieving their own targets – and with that it’s hard to achieve beyond. So, no one really wins.
What’s worse – people keep their wisdom for themselves. They don’t share or reveal their secrets. They become stuck in their bubble. As a business we become focused on the short-term. They plan based on facts from the past, rather the true opportunity ahead of them, and with that often fail to remain relevant long-term.
It’s this learning that kept me thinking about after my interview with Greg. It wasn’t only the fact that Concentric Market was breaking with this principle itself, by having the guts to work towards a vision that would ultimately make it’s consultants ‘obsolete’. It was the broader trend that I am seeing in the market as well – as a matter of fact, I experienced this hands-on myself.
Remarkable brands focus on the outcome. They align their organization around that and with that create velocity as a whole, rather than ‘units going at high speed in different directions.’ They empower their people to make their biggest possible contribution to that outcome as a team. They flatten hierarchies, rather than deepen them. They create leverage, rather than dependency. They stretch themselves to capitalize on the opportunity – rather than marginally improve the results from last year.
There are a variety of questions popping up.
What if we’d focus less on automation, and more on augmentation: Making our people better, not just more efficient? And what if we’d focus our investments on providing our people the tools to create 1+1=3 impact, rather than improvements of just 10-20%?
Just imagine what this would do to their moral and engagement, and how this could change the position of advantage we could create in the market?
It’s this mindset that I applaud for in Concentric Markets approach. Instead of taking Greg’s background in understanding what drives the success of the most successful brands in the world and create a consultancy, they turned it into an augmentation platform. They could have gone for the ‘easy’ money by selling their unique expertise at a premium and live a dream live on the back of it. But they didn’t. As Greg said: “we were offered large contracts that would have derailed our ability to keep moving. It was not so much that we gave up the money, but it’s the fact we put the company future at risk.”
So, not only did they go all the way to create a solution that is better at forecasting what’s next. They went beyond that to actually prescribe potential next steps i.e. extending people’s knowledge and their independence to take things to the next level as a team.
As Greg said: “Once you have the prediction, the next thing is the prescription. […] It’s not enough to have the facts. The next question is ‘what do you do about it’. So, we didn’t only solve a modeling challenge, but we also solved the ‘people in the process’ challenge, because you have to build a consensus around the model. The way we designed the workflow requires that you build consensus. You can’t really move forward without getting the business users in the room.”
That’s where everything comes together: The ability for our business to focus on the opportunity at large, and then solve it creatively with inspired teams that keep learning together, rather than act as a bunch of individuals.
Listen to the big idea behind Concentric Market, and why it has the potential brings people together to deliver transformative impact.