Throughout my professional journey in the past decade, moving from non-profits to Government, to private sector, from working with start-ups and entrepreneurs to large corporations, then back to “start-up land,” and above all — building my own business — I have noticed and gathered various insights on today’s world of work and on-demand economy. So, I decided to share some of them with the community.
This time: We are all business units.
I believe that today, even as an employee in a company, small or even a large corporation – the on-demand economy dictates that we are all P&L (profit-and-loss) business units. We are invested with inputs & resources – and we produce outputs.
Our boss – is our customer! They invest those inputs in us, expecting a positive ROI (return-on-investment). They actually buy something from us, in an on-demand transaction. The fact that they give us a salary, instead of paying us against an invoice (as if we were an actual business unit) – is a mere technicality.
So, forget about “thrive”, but just in order to “survive” in today’s world of work – we must embrace a new state-of-mind, and its implications. That state-of-mind is, that we are all business units.
As employees, we better make sure our outputs are bigger than the inputs. It is not enough to “check your boxes” better, cheaper and faster for our employer. We have to make sure our customer (boss) is actually satisfied.
In today’s on-demand economy, I do not think it is only the boss’s responsibility to give feedback to his/her employees, as a manager and a leader. I believe it is also the employees’ responsibility to ask for constructive feedback from their boss, just as if they were a company asking for feedback from customers, in order to improve. In face, under this new state-of-mind, you are not asking for feedback. You are surveying your customer!
Don’t ask for a raise or promotion because you believe you deserve it. Sell that promotion to your employer. You are doing business with him/her. They are the customer, so – make them want to buy the new offer. Show them the value they get in return, and why it should matter to them.
If your boss is your customer, then your team members and colleagues are consumers. They consume you, even if someone else pays for it (the customer). So, you have to make sure you are valuable in your eco-system. Being a “smart giver” (Adam Grant, Give and take) at work is no different than doing smart business development and marketing as an independent business. Don’t just think how you’re better – also think how you’re unique and valuable by both consumers and customers. Differentiate yourself.
These are just a few examples for the implications of this new state-of-mind. We may not like it. It may not be easy. Or, you may not believe that this is how the world of work should operate. But, guess what – the on-demand economy does not care. So, better embrace the future than long for the past.
You may not want to be a business owner. But, like it or not, you’re the business owner of your career. You may not not want to be an entrepreneur. But in today’s world of work, you have to think like one.
By doing so, I believe you increase your chances in having a more successful career.