Of late, I’ve been hearing more and more comments from clients and others about wanting to engage with and hear from “people like me.” Emerging Providers don’t seem to want to engage with larger providers (e.g. “They move too slow.”). Large providers don’t want to hear stories from smaller companies (e.g. “They don’t have to deal with an installed base.”).
This is alarming to me.
I’ll be the first to acknowledge that there are HUGE differences in the way big and small companies are run. I’ve worked in both and experienced it first hand. I’ll also acknowledge that, for some things, it is really important to interact with people “like you.” The shared experience is important.
But, at the same time, you can also learn from different perspectives. When I worked for startups, we almost always envied “how much easier things are” for larger companies. When I worked for large companies, we often envied startups, for exactly the same reason.
And while shared experience is important, different perspectives can also be a great way to drive change and new levels of improvement.
So, strike a balance. Look for stories and examples from “people and companies like you.” But embrace opportunities to get perspectives from different people and companies. As long as there is some common ground, some unifying elements, there is opportunity to learn. You may discard some of the ideas, embrace others, or apply your own unique twist on the ideas. That is always the best path when you interact with others (including industry analysts, like Gartner, of course).
At this year’s Gartner Tech Growth and Innovation Conference, there will be a unifying element. Everyone who is attending (or at least this should be the common element) will be creating and providing technology-related products or services to enterprise buyers. We’ll have a mix of emerging providers and large providers. All will be looking for ways to refine strategies, to innovate to create value for customers, and to grow successfully. There will be opportunities to network and engage with people and companies like you, as well as others that are very, very different from you. Embrace both of these opportunities. In combination with the session content that we are developing, I’m confident you’ll walk away with some new ideas to help your business grow.
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