Just like the couple’s question is “when are you tying the knot?” the entrepreneur’s is “how big do you want to grow this company?” My answer can be alarming, because building a company isn’t the focus.
We’re building a community.
That’s surprising to a lot of the executives I work with. It’s counterintuitive to some of the venture capitalists I know. The decision isn’t to “grow small” and the purpose isn’t to be contrarian. It’s to grow in a different way than those who have come before us. We’re building a system to facilitate a new way of work, both internally at Pursuit and externally for our clients.
Transparency, agility and freedom are the shared values. The foundation is a living, ever-changing community, not an organizational hierarchy. And we’ve found that’s exactly what our clients need for their toughest projects.
Here’s how we bring together the best talent to deliver the best work possible.
Unlike a traditional consultancy, we’re made up mostly of a community of highly curated freelancers. Lucky for us there’s a huge talent pool to select from—in the next five years more than 40% of the American workforce, or 60 million people, will have left work as we know it (Intuit). That’s some of the very best talent, no longer hirable in the traditional sense.
It’s our job is to curate the very best of that independent talent and enter the organization again, but in a completely new and approachable way. Each of our projects are made up of a core team member and a group of hand-picked community members who each bring a very specific skill set and passion to the table.
With our teams, there’s no hiding, because there’s no physical desk to show up to—value is all there is to deliver. Part of that value is the outside perspective that each individual brings to a project. Not only do we all bring our own unique experiences, we have other projects to pull inspiration from and even cross pollinate and make introductions where it makes sense.
When someone leaves the workforce, it might give off the impression that they prefer solo work, but there’s nothing like collaborating and creating something as a team. That’s one of the key reasons we bring together the right people and projects—simply put, we light each other up.
The approach sounds new to most of the organizations we work with, but it’s been proven as a successful model in other industries for years—specifically Hollywood. H/T to Adam Davidson, who covered the Hollywood model in a New York Times article that’s really well done. (The piece is also the source of the image above.)
“In the Hollywood model, a project is identified; a team is assembled; it works together for precisely as long as is needed to complete the task; then the team disbands. This short-term, project-based business structure is an alternative to the corporate model, in which capital is spent up front to build a business, which then hires workers for long-term, open-ended jobs that can last for years, even a lifetime.”
This enables us to spin up teams to tackle large and complex projects that require different people with complementary skills. For organizations, it’s far more adaptable. Each new team can be assembled based on specific needs with a limited financial commitment.
When a project is over, members move on to new projects with a new team. This means lower costs than hiring a traditional agency or staffing internally for our clients. It enables us to bring fresh energy to everything we do, and it gives us the ability to work with extreme agility. Our community is fueled with excitement around well paying work with talented team members who have similar values.
As a community we share core values, but people are still multidimensional—we keep that in mind as we build our teams. Each team is developed as a circle, pulling inspiration from the Holacracy method.
One person takes the leadership role and others fill specific roles within the circle until the project is complete. For a Pursuit team, the leadership role is filled by Pursuit core team member. The other members of the team are made up of community members who are the right fit for a specific role for the project. In another project, they may play a completely different role. The goal is to enable people to use their various superpowers simultaneously and to ship work that’s uninfluenced by fear of politics and hierarchy.
Simply put, we’re here to make something new, not to maintain the status quo and this “HHH” foundation enables us to do that in the best way possible. Every person knows their role. We determine what we want to achieve and work backwards, with each person doing what they do best.
Hiring freelancers, Hollywood, Holacracy—it’s a method to help businesses and people experience a new, better way of work—sooner rather than later. We like to think that we’re on the path of pushing towards a new system for work—maybe even humanity (meta, I know).
So, how big will the community become? We’re not sure. We’re not building a skyscraper, we’re connecting circles and building a community that makes a lasting impact on our clients, and the world.
Interesting in becoming a Pursuit community member? Our application page will be up soon, for now shoot me a note Liz@Pursuitof.com.
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Pursuit is a community-sourced consultancy that helps organizations engage a new era of employees and customers. We work at the intersection of company culture, marketing and technology to build your community from the inside out.
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