Ever toured on a cruise ship? The kind of tour with calm, crystal waters and blue sky as far as the eye can see… peppy Julie McCoy look-alikes minding the Lido deck… sultry bikini-clad bathing beauties…the sticky, sweet scent of suntan oil wavering through the air… warm licks of yellow sun splashing across your face… while you languidly pass your time until you arrive at the next island port? By the way, I'm breaking into your Corporate Internet security system as you read this.

Bet I just got you to island-hop.

Small businesses have perfected the art of island-hopping: packing light, living low and swiftly changing direction based on needs, news and impending threats.

Big businesses can get mired in hierarchy and politics long before they can muster switching gears. In today's unpredictable world, big businesses can no longer afford to shelter the steadfast and specialists. Big businesses and their employees must learn to island-hop to remain competitive.

Here are six small business island-hopping skills to serve as inspiration for big business leaders.

1. On a small remote island—you're CEO, COO, CMO, and janitor

Long ago and far away, big business attempted to de-institutionalize island-hopping to preserve efficiency and contain costs. Big business hired specialists adept in one area and organizationally separated them into specific departments, brand teams, finance and operations. Although these teams often met together to present strategies and craft plans, there was never full integration or appreciation of one another's work.

True, many big businesses require cross-functional stints. P&G and Coke require finance teams to assume a brand role prior to promotion and brand teams to experience a field sales assignment, respectively. But short stints cannot flatten silos. Functional silos inhibit big business.

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Kirsten Osolind Kirsten Osolind is the founder of re:invention (www.reinventioninc.com), which helps small business entrepreneurs with brand identities, marketing strategy, buzz marketing, and publicity. Reach her at kirsten@reinventioninc.com