When it comes to companies you have three types of worldviews – forward-looking, presentists and rearviewers. I think you can find examples of each type that work and that don’t work.
Knowing a company’s worldview matters if you’re an investor. It matters if you’re looking to sell a product or service and it matters if you’re thinking of working there.
Forward-looking companies look to what’s next, how can the disrupt, reinvent and create. That innovation can be incremental like it can be revolutionary. These companies don’t hesitate to charge a premium for what they create. These companies often place a large value on R&D, marketing, design and development. That’s not to say other fields don’t matter, it’s that they play more of a supporting role.
Presentists are companies that look at today. What’s working now and look to maximize that. The aim is less to reinvent and more to increase efficiency. They won’t hesitate to discount pricing if necessary. The important roles here are sales, product management, analysts, legal. Again, it’s not that other roles aren’t needed, its that they aren’t key.
Finally, the rearviewers drive looking in the rearview mirror. They build on what has always worked and find ways to keep making it work. They tend to be price-sensitive, trying to preserve historical margins. Key roles there are accounting, account management, support, infrastructure and top management.
One last point, most organizations stay within one framework. It’s tempting to think they move along a spectrum, but unless there’s a dramatic change in culture, the worldview tends to stay the same.
Your goal then if you’re looking to work somewhere is to 1, find a company that matches your worldview and 2, accept that your role will have more or less importance.