Corporate America has lost touch with the original meaning of the word “Company”. A company is a group of people with common interests and goals. Leaders within the group gain the respect of the others by articulating clear visions of strategy, a policy, or a tactical plan, and thereby gain the support of the rest of the company. Together a course of action is agreed upon that gives the best chance of success, and then the group buckles down to make it happen. Responsibility must be divided for the group to move forward and achieve anything, each focusing on their own tasks. Each member then contributes in their particular way as best they can, depending on their particular skills and talents, to the success of the organization, confident that their efforts are harmonious with the rest of the company. This requires trust in the judgment of others. “Perfect” being the enemy of “good enough”, and time being money, we must always seek commitment and resolve – but total consensus in everything we do is a luxury few businesses can afford. This too requires trust in the judgment of others.
I have tried to run my business according to this model. My invested savings shows my commitment to this vision, and there are certain things I do well. And, while I might be able to do anything, I certainly can’t do everything. There are many others whose skill sets are complementary matches to my own, and I seek out partners with this in mind. Managing a company properly means making sure that every known contribution or concern is incorporated or addressed, that everyone understands their role, and that responsibilities are clearly assigned as best fits the skills, talents, interests, and workloads of the members. This means staying out of the way when a responsibility has been delegated and accepted, but also being open and available for advice and consultation.
No plan is perfect, and none remains the same after the opening battle cry, so constant communication to incorporate new data and experience is in order. A manager must make sure the other team members understand the changing environment and the implications of new factors that emerge, but changing roles should be done only as a strategic resource reorganization, not a recurring case of micromanagement that undermines a worker’s authority and sense of responsibility. No back seat driving.
Workers must draw a wage to meet their family needs and which frees them to focus on performing their daily tasks (and husbanding their resources for their work – not needing to moonlight to make ends meet). But beyond that, there must always be a path forward that lets them build the company up in a way that is durable and lasting, and be compensated for that value they contribute. This is the only stable way to pursue continual improvement – by having the system managed by those who take pride of ownership in it. The move from “hourly contractor” to being invested in one’s work is the true measure of being part of a “Company”.
Too many corporations have a rigid hierarchy and advancement is not by creating value, but by climbing the ladder past (or over top of) their peers. Workers should be rewarded for their contributions to the overall success of the organization, especially for enabling the success of others – never for reaching the finish line ahead of the other team members.