I’d been catching up on my reading and stumbled across Chris Saad’s Blog Paying Attention, posted August 26, 2008 entitled: “Revolution of Me: Chapter 2: Business 2.0 – Continued.” His post really inspired me from an Employer/Employee relationship perspective.
I came away thinking about the choices we make to either exist as an “employee” of a corporation or to LIVE as Entrepreneurial Partner in an organization.
Choosing to live as an Entrepreneurial Partner is not an easy one. Not everyone has the stamina and the drive to withstand the challenges that come with it. You will find that the “employees” resent you and will (even when they won’t always openly admit it) seek to sabotage your efforts. And it’s at this moment that you’re saying to yourself…”uh-oh she’s slipping on the slope of conspiracy paranoia.”
Uh…don’t worry, I’m not…I’ve just had legitimate experiences, whereby colleagues have openly admitted hidden agendas. One, has actually stated recently, “you win”, when I didn’t know we were competing for first place.
And honestly the “winning” piece intrigues me. I’ve never looked at working or work from the “winner” takes it all perspective. I just LOVE the challenge. This challenge has often been in identifying where the obstacles lie and how to achieve any given goal “in spite of perceived obstacles.” Usually I find the real obstacles are old thinking and behaviors.
And then Chris Saad, made a rather profound observation that really connected some dots for me, he said:
“The key, in fact, is to stop considering staff as ‘Human Resources’. They are no longer commodities. The corporation needs to redefine its role from one of an all encompassing entity to a loose affiliation of individual partners who are focused on common goal.
Corporations need to start considering staff as partners and service providers. Staff must provide quality services to the corporation, and the corporation must have clear, reciprocal value propositions for its partners.
Or partners will move on… or worse.”
The declaration of the corporate machine stamping out employees as “commodities” like pork bellies or “coffee” to be traded on an open market…WOW…that’s it! This speaks to the lack of cooperation and what’s most important collaboration. When we’re all just a number seeking to “eek” out an existence, we begin to snarl and claw our way just to survive.
Even when the organization I’m affiliated with insists on commoditizing me…I refuse it. I choose to see myself as more than just a consumable, I see myself as an entrepreneur building my own business within a business. And this may have a lot to do with the fact that I’ve built my own successful business in the past. But, I can’t and won’t take the “employee” approach.
Now, I can hear the question you’re asking…”if everyone takes an entrepreneurial approach, and builds “their own” business won’t you have chaos…an everyone out for themselves environment. I say NO. Absolutely not! If each employee becomes a “partner” understanding that as Chris Saad pointed out…their contribution is actually a service provided…not a job…then a very productive and industrious environment is created. We will naturally see each other as internal clients or customers as opposed to internal competition fighting over the last scrap from the day’s kill.
I believe the “worst” part that Chris was referring to…is that “partners” WILL” move on. And then all an organization is really left with are the employees. I actually experienced that first hand, when IBM offered its first round of “packaged retirements” in the late 80s early 90s. I witnessed the best of the best leave to start their own business while I was a contractor at their Boca Raton, FL Campus.
Partners bring tremendous energy and thought leadership. They inspire others to change and think differently about the contributions made each day. I recognize that not everyone is going to have the stamina and vision to live as an Entrepreneurial Partner. But that is exactly what makes us special…not everyone can do it. Dare I say, this is really what a leader is, and the employees need leaders who are partners. Partners who inspire contribution, collaboration and then reward that behavior accordingly.
Bravo Chris…thank you for inspiring me to share!