Leaders of successful businesses foster innovative work environments where their employees are able to creatively apply their knowledge and strengths to solve their customers’ problems. This sort of work environment is motivating for employees, results in happy, repeat customers that are happy to pay for your services and products. It is a win-win-win for everyone.
Back in the early 90’s I worked for a consulting company that had this mindset. Employees were encouraged to work with customers to identify areas in their businesses that could be improved. We then proposed a number of solutions to deal with these improvement opportunities and the customers would hire us to implement them.
In his book The Future Arrived Yesterday: The Rise of the Protean Corporation and What It Means for You, Michael S. Malone defines a new phenomenon in the corporate world which he calls the Protean Corporation (Protean means the ability to change into many different forms or to do many different things). The Protean Corporation is a new form of organization that is structured to handle the stresses and strains we see emerging in our marketplace today. Stresses ranging from the retiring baby boomers being replaced by Gen Xer’s, Gen Y’s and millennials to the rising Asian workforce, continuous Internet connectivity, the pace of technological change, dramatic increases in new consumers, the emerging nations and the rise in entrepreneurialism. These stresses and strains are unleashing an unprecedented rate of change into the marketplace, a rate of change that has never before been experienced and one that the organizations today struggle to handle successfully.
According to Malone, the Protean Corporation “must find a way to continuously and rapidly change almost everyone of their attributes – products, services, finances, physical plant, markets, customers, and both tactical and strategic goals – yet at the same time retain a core of values, customs, legends, and philosophy that will be little affected by the continuous and explosive changes taking place just beyond its edges.”
How can the Protean Corporation do this? By structuring itself into three distinct groups;