There was this CFO who couldn’t get hired. He’d had a good run with a company until it was taken over, and for the first time in his working life, he was out of a job. He was a prize candidate for executive search agencies, but they couldn’t place him for two years. That’s when he came to me.
I asked what happens in job interviews and he described how he listed his various skills, his years of experience – basically read aloud his entire resumé. He’d been schooled in the traditional view of a business as nothing more than “What” it produces, “How” it produces and delivers it” and occasionally “Why” it was started in the first place. This triad was how he understood business and his role in it. It never occurred to him that there is one basic ingredient without which business doesn’t happen at all – and that’s the “Who” factor.
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Business runs on those who serve it, invest in it, believe in it. All the machinery, the supply-chain, the hardware and software remain idle without a Who behind it. When a company falters and reaches out for help, a typical response is to diagnose the What – is the product or service good enough?; or the How – are the all systems operational?; or the Why – what are we really trying to build here? As for the Who, all that may happen is a mandate to hire or fire.
There is a lot of talk about creating ‘the new business model’ to compete in these disruptive times. But designing it through the lens of What, How and Why ignores the most vital component –Who, the lifeblood of an organization.
Likewise, the CFO was only thinking in terms of What he could provide a company, or How he could service it, or Why they should hire him. But he was ignoring the Who in his ‘business model’.
Throughout his entire career, he had never looked at himself as the source of his own power and ability. He so identified as a “CFO” that he had lost sight of the magnitude of his worth beyond managing numbers. On completion of our work, he immediately got five offers and chose an Exec VP position as a major international company.
What he realized, and what companies are increasingly realizing is that the new business model is not just fixing the What, the How, or the Why.
About The Author
As the Co-Founder and CEO of the Think8 Global Institute Mark trains and models start-ups, SME’s and Fortune 500 companies to new think the way they do business.