This is the fifth of five blogs that describe individual roles, individual stratum thinking capabilities and the right organizational structure (or as we say, defining the Requisite Organization). Today I’ll describe working at Stratum V and what their business looks like.

Working at Stratum V

1. Type of Business

  • Specialization in certain areas. Working on enhancing status and referrals. Possibly reframing the business: expanding into new markets.
  • Sole proprietor or senior partner in a team-based ensemble or CEO of a firm.
  • Service is to construct an integrated, comprehensive offering and implement it over time. Product placement is secondary to complex problem solving for the client.
  • Well established market.
  • Marketing is primarily through introductions. The brand is the main focus with consistent treatment and emphasis within an integrated communications and public relations strategy.
  • The entire enterprise may be viewed as focusing on client relationship management.

2. Organizational Support

  • One or more associates, assistants with assigned functions e.g. marketing support, sales support, client service, etc., possibly business partners who specialize in a variety of areas, possibly heading up specific areas of responsibility with their own staff. A Marketing Director, an Office General Manager, possibly also an internal compliance officer. Business owners at this level of capability tend to have a number of people assisting them but they may not put in the appropriate effort to build the organization and its capability.
  • The organization does not add optimal value because the business owner does not:
    • Ensure that roles are clearly defined and filled with people capable of doing the work in them,
    • Clarify role relationships so employees know how to coordinate their work,
    • Clearly specify the tasks employees are to work on, and
    • Coach employees to improve their performance and remain accountable for their work.
  • If the above holds true, work is left undone, is done poorly or is duplicated all leading to inefficiency, ineffectiveness and conflict. At this level, the business owner must put significant effort into building an effective organization or they will not maximize their own effectiveness.
  • Longest Task: Establishing the 5-10 year vision – building relationships with communities, developing someone to take over the business in seven years, including preparing for demographic and industry changes five to ten years out.
  • All tasks are delegated except strategic planning and intimate client relationship work.

3. Revenue

  • $1,000,000 – $5,000,000

Conclusion: Make Your Choice

Now that you have seen how work changes at each level of stratum thinking, you have some choices to make. We expect that you noticed how much the income ceiling raises from one level to the next, and that may tempt you to build the kind of business we describe at Stratum V. But before you start renting that huge office and hiring that large staff, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Are you actually capable of doing the work described? For example, estimates are that only 1% of the adult population is capable of working at Stratum V.
  2. Do you want to do the work described? Some people would rather sell than manage. Having a staff to do the work you do not want to do still leaves you with the work of managing that staff.

However, if you find that your current business does not make full use of your level of stratum thinking capability, you may well benefit from building a business. The descriptions of work at each level may help you choose the level and form of business best suited to your abilities and interests.