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Business Styles

MBA's usually learn about Theory X:Theory Y methods of management. Over the last 3 years in corporate world I have seen similar two opposite styles of business development at work - I christen them "Theory A: Theory B" style of business.

Theory A
A manager who believes that new business is the best business and getting business is his most important priority. Such managers tend to paint a very rosy picture of their company / team / work in front of a new client. They also tend to over-commit. Though not as a rule, but as a corollary, such managers tend to pay very little attention to work (projects / deliverables etc) when its comes to delivery / execution.

Thus they tend to over-commit and under perform, resulting in low repeat business. However, their future pipelines are usually so full of work that they are hardly ever bothered or worried by the lack of repeat business.

Theory B
A manager who believes that repeat business is the best form of business and hence his focus is execution than business development. Their deliverables usually tend to be more than committed and given their focus on delivery, such managers have very good repeat business coming in from their clients.

However, such managers always under-commit many times even allowing opportunities to lapse if the client expects more output than promised. They tend to loose many contracts to aggressive competitors but tend to be little bothered about the same due to the repeat business pipeline that they have.

I have seen, worked for / with and analysed both styles of working and have been till now not able to necessarily side with any one of the above.

Intuitively, Theory B seems to be the more righteous and sustainable - but in the today's times of aggressive competition, one cannot deny the efficacy of Theory A in helping a new business grow. A drawback of Theory B is that it is usually not suitable to grow business in non-traditional areas where you might not have much experience, because the manager will never commit about the new service's/product's ability to deliver and hence may never be able to give the client enough confidence.

At the same time, applying Theory A might wreck havoc for an industry where reputation might be more important than growth and hence again spell doom for the new business initiatives.

Would love to have comments from others on this one ...

2 Comments to " Business Styles "

  1. very true... and I am (and have been) a part of both sides ... from my point we really need to seek a balance between the Theory A & B and it has to drive down from leadership as it is the leadership that defines the goals for these two types of managers ... a manager has to have both components in his set of goals and needs to align with the other support functions such as availability of resources (execution task force) added with lot of insights about the potential customer in questions. Also, there is something known as account mining - growing deeper with a customer... this something is missed out when the manager type A moves off from a win and delivery is only focussed on to limited execution goals and forgets that there could be more fruits than the low hanging ones ...

  2. I agree that a balance between the two would be a good idea. However, with regard to Theory A over-committing is never a good way to go.

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