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The cherry pickers

Very recently, I wrote an advertisement for a client, ABC Consultants. The headline said: “Our New Company Policy: Divide and Rule.”

business Updated: Aug 14, 2011 21:26 IST

Very recently, I wrote an advertisement for a client, ABC Consultants. The headline said: “Our New Company Policy: Divide and Rule.”

The advertisement went on to say how in a newly configured world, forcibly stitched-together strengths would no longer work when contrasted with carved out competencies.

Over the past few months, I have worked with three clients who have bucked the 360-degree trend that agencies swoon over in their credentials. Instead, they have identified best practitioners in the domains that they require expertise in and sat the practitioners down together on the table of brotherhood and made them work.

One of these clients is among India’s most revered manufacturing companies. Ordinarily, such foresight escapes the large and venerated. But not them. So I actually sit in with some of the finest minds in the country and together we work for this client.

Some fancy marketer called it “Co-opetition.” Collaborating while competing. That is so 1990 in its perspective. I call it capability confluencing, where many streams of rigour and experience flow into one river of requirement.

Increasingly, I see several clients becoming cherry pickers. They will shun their affiliations, cock a snook at club agencies and go out and hire the need of the task.

What will that require? Three things that our business lacks: an objective ombudsman who has no axe to grind and who has just a singular bias — the good of his client. Adulthood when dealing with your peers. And finally, respect that talent chooses its own tributary. So what if it is not yours.

All of us, without exception, have great fun working on this business because Gibran-like, there are “spaces in our togetherness.”

The guys who can do this will be the cherry pickers’ choice. The rest will have to contend with, in this metaphorical framework, the pits.

The writer is CEO, Equus