From Management to Influence

The business world is moving from an environment of management to an environment of influence.

The drivers are simple: globalization and outsourcing.

Digital drives global, which makes for scale economies at the global level. Outsourcing is driven by many things, but boils down to buy vs. make.

When global meets buy vs. make, the strategists tend to focus on levels of competition or number of competitors. But the interesting thing is the change in the nature of relationships—from managerial to influential.

The VP of Benefits used to report to the SVP of Human Resources.

Now the SVP of Human Resources buys benefits services from Benefits-R-Us.

And yes, Benefits-R-Us has greater global scale, so benefits cost less, etc. But it’s the other change I find more interesting.

-From an employer relationship to a commercial relationship.
-From an internal relationship to an external relationship.
-From boss and employee to buyer and seller.
-From a managerial relationship to a relationship of influence between peers.

Multiply that by a billion, and that’s our new world.

It’s not a command-and-control world, it’s a horizontal world where people get along well, or not so well. Those who get along well with others, do well. Those who are more comfortable in a hierarchy—not so much.

Of course that’s a simplification, things move slowly, etc. But I think it’s directionally right. And to that extent, things like trust and the ability to influence those over whom you have no direct control become much more important.

What are the implications?