Why your company’s culture needs a ‘fractal redesign’


A rapidly growing fintech start-up from India has set its sights on the U.S. market, leveraging cutting-edge technology called GenAI to significantly reduce the time it takes to customize its CRM solutions. Unlike larger competitors, the start-up's agile team culture and modular product design allowed them to swiftly adopt and integrate this new technology, prioritizing speed over scale. This shift in the competitive landscape reflects a departure from traditional global companies' focus on scale and efficiency, towards a new emphasis on local responsiveness, innovation, and speed, which we term "fractal advantage."

We've previously discussed the impact of geopolitical, technological (such as GenAI), and societal factors on this radical shift in the competitive landscape. To thrive in this new environment, global companies must pivot towards winning "local battles" by prioritizing speed, innovation, and customer responsiveness, rather than solely focusing on global efficiency. While scale remains important, these companies must transition from a "global at scale" operating model to a "local at speed" approach.

Despite this conceptual agreement among business leaders, few have successfully built a "fractal" organization, which is a network of empowered local teams operating close to customers. The primary obstacle to this transformation is entrenched hierarchical cultures and power structures. Building a local-at-speed organization requires a cultural shift that challenges these traditional power structures, which have long benefited those at the top.

In essence, the "fractal organization" helps businesses break the trade-off between scale and speed. To establish this, however, companies must develop a culture that challenges existing power structures. The culture change necessary to accomplish this is complex, but it can be simplified into three key features: 1) empowering local teams, 2) enabling rapid decision-making, and 3) fostering an adaptive, connected network.  

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