Different approaches to Business

Posted under: Digital Natives 21st of February, 2014

So, I’ve just gotten back from an extended family holiday in North America which included seeing my brother, some snowboarding here, a bit of shopping there, dying of pneumonia in New York, all-in-all fairly standard trip.  We had flown over with the intention of coming back with an unnecessary amount of crap, there was 4 of us, 3 bags each, 32 kg for each bag.  We left Australia with 6 bags and came back with 10, my god …

This did cause some issues because this was our bag limits for the return flight to Australia only, not the connecting flights between the various place throughout the America’s, we’d be visiting.  One particular incident, when we were preparing to leave San Francisco for Los Angeles, is the focus of this blog.  It was early morning, the bags were all bloated, packed and prepped to be placed in the car for the trip to the airport.  My father, who when it comes to packing has affectionately been referred to as the ‘Tetris Master’ by my siblings and I,  was attempting to pack all the bags into the back of the SUV.  Normally, the 3 of us would stand around watching while humming the Tetris Theme (if you are unfamiliar), however this was not one of those times.  During our stay in San Francisco we had, as expected, bought more things, which had to be crammed into already full bags.  Unsurprisingly, that meant that the bags needed to be crammed into the back of the car, and arranged like a giant jigsaw.

There’s a reason why us siblings don’t help with the packing, in fact there are several including dad being a grumpy old man, but the main reason is simply how his approach differs to ours.  My father is fairly stubborn, and if he thinks 6 bags will fit, then he will make 6 bags fit, and he will do it within the given space. This is in contrast to my mother, who will pull down seats to make more room, without regards for the discomfort of myself and my sister.

I’ve come to realise that is also how my parents differ when they handle business projects/situations. Dad’s ‘perfectionist’, machine-like approach vs. Mum’s compromising, yet flexible approach. He’s a strong believer in “doing it right the first time” because if it’s done right the first time, then it doesn’t need to be done again.  Meanwhile, Mum is more likely to pick the solution with the shortest timeframe, fixing any problems as they arise.

Furthermore, Dad’s approach is also more  machine-like in the sense that every person involved in the project has a part to play.  How much or how little of a part depends on the capability of each individual. On the other hand, Mum is reliant on each person’s “eagerness to help” when delegating workloads.

After talking briefly with Dad about this blog, he outlined a person’s capability as their willingness (want to do) and their ability (can do).  Due to the different work environments they are both involved in, they both rely on different aspects.  Dad works in paid organisations where the “want” is covered by the paycheck and the actual skill/ability becomes the primary factor. Meanwhile, Mum works largely in volunteer organisations which rely heavily on each person involved being willing to help. Since volunteer work is unpaid, it is generally down to the individual to reap their own benefits from the work (e.g. Parents helping with child’s sporting activities, charity work).  Mum increases this effect by maintaining a good rapport with all of her helpers, as it helps them feel appreciated which in turns makes them more willing to help.

Two effective business models, two different business environments…

Could they be adapted to each other perhaps? If you had any thoughts, feel free to leave them below.

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