"On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights" is a unique approach to growth for the business who believes they've done all they can. If you need a perspective, but don't know where to look, this 20-year experienced corporate anthropologist has plenty of stories that show you where to look and how to capitalize on this perspective for business success.
The typical image of an anthropologist usually involves something exotic. We don’t envision them working in the boardroom, but maybe we should. Anthropologists (more specifically corporate anthropologists) are skilled in providing analysis of culture.
What’s the one thing separating your business from the competition? Culture.
What is On the Brink About?
The concept behind On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights is actually quite simple: Culture is the way business gets done. Yet inside that simple statement is packed a lot of insight. Culture develops organically as a group of humans (whether they are employees or members of a tribe) accomplish goals. This culture, however, can suffer from one big downside, the “know-it-all” part of the brain.
Our brains are incredible machines, but they can be a little presumptuous. Our brains assume that we know what’s best, which is a reason that we often ignore or downplay even seemingly good new ideas. If you put even more brains together, you start getting the “We’re not that kind of company” response when you introduce new ideas or concepts.
On the Brink concerns itself with breaking out of the mindset. It isn’t easy, but it is necessary because businesses exist in a complex world. Businesses need to adapt and evolve or they won’t survive. The key to successful adaptation and evolution for a modern business is to stay focused on core operations while remaining open to new opportunities to capitalize on that core. For example, in On the Brink, a tire link company realized that they were more than “just a tire link company”. An outside observer would have caught this, but the management at that company didn’t realize the opportunity. This “blindspot” is what On the Brink is urging business owners to consider while they are planning.
In other words, if you don’t leave your mind open to new possibilities, you will always be stuck with the same old problems.
On the Brink is the work of Dr. Andrea (Andi) Simon, who has spent over 20 years serving as a corporate anthropologist. She is the founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants, a company that helps companies capitalize on business growth using anthropological studies for business.
What Was Best About On the Brink?
The best part of On the Brink is that the book provides numerous examples of how a simple shift in perspective opened new profit channels and re-energized struggling companies. One chapter of the book demonstrates how a struggling company that specializes in call center technology used the book’s concept to provide a new service. Another chapter discusses how an industrial manufacturing business did the same thing.
It’s the wide range of applicability that is the book’s greatest assets. If you wanted to see how the book’s “big idea” would work in various businesses, this book itself provides many examples.
What Could Have Been Done Differently
On the Brink has wide applicability, but it does suffer from some specificity. In other words, the book provides the basic concept stepping out of your own brain for a minute but it doesn’t show specifically the process the business owner went through to get there. Some tools are provided, but more details about the process of working with a new perspective might be helpful. Additional information on how to make this perspective an ongoing part of business operations might also be beneficial.
Why Read On the Brink?
If your business is struggling or just not growing, you probably need to reflect on your assumptions about the customer and the market. It is those times that On the Brink might be of service because it will open up the conversation your brain needs to have. On the Brink showcases how this simple switch in your brain can open your business to a whole new opportunity that you never imagined.