Companies constantly struggle to balance scale and agility. Start-ups seek exponential growth, and large organizations seek some semblance of flexibility and innovation.
“Tim Cook doesn’t send you a hand-written note after you buy a laptop. He can’t. But you can. That’s one advantage of being small: you can provide a level of service no big company can.” –Paul Graham
The challenge is often determining what to scale – via internal standards, fixed templates, programmable technology, or other means – and what to keep flexible and unscalable.
“Scale has no importance on its own…But unless you have scale, you may not be able to stay alive or competitive. Unless you have scale, you can be bought by someone else or you may go bankrupt. Remember, I have seen so many industries dying out.” –Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo founder
This applies to individuals as well as companies. Where to focus, what to do next, how to place activities, what to delegate – all of these decisions contribute to the scale of activities around you. Few large groupings or many small groupings. Calibrate the scale appropriately.