My wife was a loyal Nokia mobile phone user. I saw her migrate from one Nokia phone model to another when her subscription with the carriers came up for renewal. Nokia enabled her to make phone calls, check her calendar, take an occasional photograph and send SMS messages conveniently... Life was good!
While my wife tinkered with the basic facilities on her Nokia, there was a worldwide revolution brewing in the field of social networking, e-publishing and music. Along came 3.5 inch phone screens with 960x640 resolution, incredible graphics, 5 mega pixel cameras and access to a gazillion video, music, game and published content, paid and free from highly marketed repositories. Suddenly, the Nokia phone despite all its familiarity paled in comparison to this barrage of user friendly offerings aimed at satisfying every user craving that rolled out from its competitors’ warehouses. My wife flipped her years of Nokia loyalty and switched to using the Apple iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy tablet running on Google’s Android engine. The incumbent Farmer has largely been displaced by the Hunters who have disrupted the conventional playing field through large scale innovations that have shifted the customer’s expectations.
So who is a Farmer and who is the Hunter? These terms emerge from the pages of sales organizations. Usually, sales organizations have two sources of revenue, both equally important. The first form of revenue streams from an existing customer base or an existing product group. This revenue is more predictable, more secure. Customer satisfaction and product quality ensure this form of revenue. This revenue is chased by a category of sales people called ‘Farmers’. They are strong on relationships, comfortable in executing proven strategies, trends and expectations.
The second form of revenue comes from winning new customers, new market segments or even creating new market segments by disrupting the way things are conventionally done. This calls for a different profile of sales people. They are the mavericks, the out-of-the-box thinkers, the unconventional... They seek the thrill of fresh blood, new accounts... They are the Hunters! Each type of revenue requires a unique strategy and a unique sales force. The Farmer and the Hunter is not limited to the sales force... The principle extends to entire organizations and every individual.
What does this narrative mean to the individual professional? Both the Farmer and the Hunter within you need to be in balance to drive your professional growth. As a Farmer, be aware of your capabilities, your innate faculties that set you apart from the rest and give you a head start. Keep them razor sharp... Sustain them! As the Hunter, look out for new skills, information, and knowledge that will disrupt your environment and differentiate you from the rest. All individuals and organizations progress and grow faster by building new attributes rather than simply strengthening their existing capabilities. Champions in every sphere are the proverbial all-weather masters. They have effectively minimized every weakness in their profession while identifying and mastering disruptive maneuvers that set them ahead of the pack.
So ... Are you a farmer or a hunter? How do you find balance between the two?
[The article has been contributed by Deb Dutta. He is a senior technology executive with over 20 years of experience in business and operations. Deb has a true passion for mentoring rising talent and is a frequent contributor and speaker at technology,business and educational forums. ]