Opinion

How to go from great business to leading authority in your field

5 min read

20 April 2016

The world of business is moving from that of jobs, of tasks performed for money, to the world where what we do, and how we do it, is valued by the contribution made and the manner of its making.

In the 1990s, when PC’s began to appear and email (and the Internet) became pervasive, the speed of business accelerated significantly. It became much more of a team game. Where once the exceptional stood out by what they knew and how they applied it, the remarkable at the turn of the millennium were well connected and got things done collaboratively. Where collaboration is a greater driving force than competition, people come together and do extraordinary things collectively.

When we do remarkable work, not because of the possession of a capability, but because we choose to excel at it and act on purpose, then we create a future built on the value we bring. This future is not a careerist approach. It is purposeful, and works across the organisation differently from a career. When our personal purpose drives what we do, it no longer makes sense to tie our long-term future to an organisation, (nor does it make sense for the company). Instead, our personal mission becomes our guiding light.

For businesses, that means creating the right environment to enable talent to flourish while purposes are aligned – and to recognise the time when that changes. Portfolio working and short term (yet purposeful) engagements will be the norm.

Bosses working in this new collaborative world will do remarkable work and will do it in alignment with all whom they impact. They tread lightly and leave a better world. In this new environment, individuals need to narrow their niche to the extreme. For example, rather than being a lawyer, become the country’s most skilled entrepreneurial investment contract lawyer. 

This is because expertise on its own merely denotes knowledge of how to apply a particular skill in certain circumstances. What makes expertise powerful is an association with the authority of not just “an” expert in the field but by “the” expert in the field.

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When done well businesses do not narrow the market but lead it. Such firms will not lose referrals or credibility, but will gain them. But how do you move from being good at what you do to being, authoritatively, the only business that does it?

The answer lies in clarity, strategy and implementation. Remarkable Implementation springs from great planning, from robust and considered strategy, while exceptional strategy comes from having an absolute understanding of the vision, purpose, and pace of the organisation, its collaborative teams and partners. Profound clarity also comes from genuinely understanding all aspects of the business and its place in the world; now and with the vision of what it will become.

Business owners who seek to stand out must concentrate on building the environment where this way of working flourishes, for them, for their staff, the markets they operate in, and their communities.

There are challenges with this approach as it goes to the root of societal structure, changing it from a model of exchanging money for the time employed, to one of the collaborative community. Not least of those challenges is that many of today’s business structures derive from legislation and regulation. For example; in an environment not based on advancement within the corporate structure, employment protection laws can become anachronistic.

Remarkable people have a profound clarity about purpose. Someone not able to explain their skills, experience, or ways of working in a way that others immediately understand will lose attention quickly. The biggest returns come when that clarity is applied strategically – creating positive, sustainable businesses that add critical value to a collaborative community.

Together, the people with purpose, and the companies that support them, are changing the world. They will leave a tangible legacy that will shine across the generations. Standing for the things that matter attracts an aligned enthusiastic community, together focused on sustainably creating meaningful value for all.

Becoming the market leader in your industry doesn’t necessarily mean you have to dominate the world and be the richest person on earth, but in the case you might want to, Sammy Blindell unveils some top tips for ruling the world.

William Buist is founder of xTEN Club.

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