*    “Running an Agile Fortune 500 Company”    Aditya Yadav, aditya.yadav@gmail.com    in.linkedin.com/in/adityayadav76
* A Typical Global Company  * Fortune 500/1000  * 200 Divisions  * 40 Countries  * 25000 Employees                        ...
*    @ Acme Inc.
* Original Question “We need more efficiency and productivity shouldn’t we hire more and more Specialists?”* The Correct Q...
*    And The Philosophy Behind The Answer
*
*   Herbivores are divided into generalists, animals that eat a wide variety of    plants more or less equally, and specia...
*
* McKinsey is a Generalist or Specialized Generalist Firm. They are the    most reputed in the world. Others are Boutiques...
* A Global Business is a complex organization in a really  complex dynamically changing world* What worked yesterday will ...
* There is no job on the planet that requires such an effort of  specialization that you cannot generalize and add a dozen...
*   Honestly “Does your argument rest on the premise that Generalists are    inferior to Specialists?” Don’t confuse Gener...
* "We’ve become a society that’s data rich and meaning poor" "A rise in    specialists in all areas—science, math, history...
* Never hire a Specialist unless you need a Ph.D.* Always hire Generalists and Generalized Specialists in good  combinatio...
Aditya!!!     *
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The myth of specialization - Aditya Yadav

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The myth of specialization - Aditya Yadav

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Transcript of "The myth of specialization - Aditya Yadav"

  1. 1. * “Running an Agile Fortune 500 Company” Aditya Yadav, aditya.yadav@gmail.com in.linkedin.com/in/adityayadav76
  2. 2. * A Typical Global Company * Fortune 500/1000 * 200 Divisions * 40 Countries * 25000 Employees *
  3. 3. * @ Acme Inc.
  4. 4. * Original Question “We need more efficiency and productivity shouldn’t we hire more and more Specialists?”* The Correct Question - “Should we be moving all specialization to Ph.D.’s and everything else to Generalists? Would that work?” *
  5. 5. * And The Philosophy Behind The Answer
  6. 6. *
  7. 7. * Herbivores are divided into generalists, animals that eat a wide variety of plants more or less equally, and specialists, animals that rely on one food source, often to the exclusion of all other available foods.* An example of a specialist would be the Koala bear (Phascolarctos vulpecula) of Australia. They eat Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.) plants only.* There are relatively few mammals (generalists) that specialize on a single plant species as their primary food source* Koala virtually got extinct in the 20th century and is only found in eastern and southern parts of Australia. Most of Specialists (Human Professionals) also face such issues* Mammals have gone ahead to dominate virtually the entire planet.* But I’m not going to argue about Generalists based on Survival. That would be too narrow an argument and I’m not too worried about Koala’s survival but more about World Domination (In the business sense) *
  8. 8. *
  9. 9. * McKinsey is a Generalist or Specialized Generalist Firm. They are the most reputed in the world. Others are Boutiques that specialize!!! in a few things.* They virtually don’t rely on domain knowledge at all “We cannot know the domain more than our Customers who have done it for 20 years day in and day out”* McKinsey relies on (i) First Principles, (ii) Structured Reasoning, and (iii) Fact Based Decisions and Strategy* They are called in at a bomb consulting rate when (i) All your Specialists have failed to deliver, and (ii) All your domain experts have also failed miserably, and most of the times brought the company to the brink of bankruptcy.* Every Fortune 500/1000 company and basically everyone who can afford McKinsey has relied on them to solve the toughest business problems for them since 1926. That’s a consistent record of reputation, success and reliability for 86 years. *
  10. 10. * A Global Business is a complex organization in a really complex dynamically changing world* What worked yesterday will not work today and in the future* Specialists Professionals and Groups make it virtually impossible for the [Traditional Command and Control] Management to co-ordinate globally and execute consistently* And besides every Specialist Professional/Group can only achieve the Tactical Local Optima. For a Global Company to succeed requires a Dynamically Changing Global Optima* Niche Specialists by themselves cannot create this Global Optima* If you have run a Global Company then you can understand the Criticality of the last two statements *
  11. 11. * There is no job on the planet that requires such an effort of specialization that you cannot generalize and add a dozen more skills. Specialists and Generalists can both evolve into Generalized Specialists with Work Experience and then move away in a new role and start as a Generalist.* Domain Skills may get a tactical advantage but assuming someone has reasonable Domain Knowledge to survive tactically; for Global Success you have no alternative but to go the McKinsey [Generalist] way* “Given a complex enough global business problem a group of generalists will beat a group of specialists many times over”* For everything else there are Ph.D’s *
  12. 12. * Honestly “Does your argument rest on the premise that Generalists are inferior to Specialists?” Don’t confuse Generalists with Incompetent* Empirical evidence shows that for anything that doesn’t require a Ph.D. or Post Doctoral Experience the Reality is actually the other way around.* Does your argument start with “How can a Database job be done by a Perl Developer?” The reality is that a generalist who knows Perl, DBA, Linux and Python delivers more strategic business success than a DBA specialist who can at most excel Tactically in the short term.* Rule: Everything that was Specialist yesterday is becoming Generalized as time passes by. Just 50 years ago Data Entry into mainframes required a 2 year specialization/experience -J* More Specialist Knowledge mostly being brought in by Researchers [Ph.D’s]* Don’t assume this presentation is saying “Everyone in the world can do everything in the world” That would be a Strawman Fallacy Attack on this presentation. *
  13. 13. * "We’ve become a society that’s data rich and meaning poor" "A rise in specialists in all areas—science, math, history, psychology—has left us with tremendous content but how valuable is that knowledge without context?" Context, he says, which can only be provided by generalists whose breadth of knowledge can serve as the link between the hard- won scientific breakthroughs and the rest of the world.* Only by understanding the work within fields to the right and the left of your own can you understand the bigger picture, he says, whether you’re talking about a corporation (sales analysts understanding the supply chain as well as internal operations) or the world as a whole. "We’ve become so focused on specialization, but just as there are truths that can only be found as a specialist," he says, "There are truths that can only be revealed by a generalist who can weave these ideas in the broader fabric of understanding." *
  14. 14. * Never hire a Specialist unless you need a Ph.D.* Always hire Generalists and Generalized Specialists in good combination. Latter if skew towards Tactical survival [skills gained through experience] though could be limiting strategically in the future.* Anchor the team with someone/few with reasonable Tactical survival knowhow, beyond that is not needed if you want to conquer the world.* Use First Principles, Structured and Fact based Reasoning to run your business.* Back to point #1 If you need something absolutely niche Hire Ph.D’s (Who ideally should be the ONLY specialists in your organization) *
  15. 15. Aditya!!! *

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