If we are going to have a company without bosses, then everyone has to shoulder both the power and the responsibility.
Whether you own your own business or you own your own work, opportunity brings duty.
Under the current style of management (the old style), you are hired with a wage determined by the estimated value of the job. (Or, more often than not, the least the employer is willing to pay.)
After that, your future wages depend on arbitrary judgments on “how well you do.” Or how much less the company can get away with while demanding more and more work.
Often management fires and hires just to reduce wages.
At any level, there is little job security. Much less satisfaction.
Your future is constantly in jeopardy regardless of your performance. You can be dismissed on a whim. More people lose their jobs because of company behavior than because of employee behavior.
The Socially Responsible, Self-managed, Profit-sharing (SSP) business model is new style.
It breaks the mold of old style management and requires an entirely different mindset. It will not be easy to change the ways of management or labor. But it is your duty whether you own your own work or you own your own company.
We Supplant the Employment Contract
Instead of an employment contract, colleagues sign an entrepreneurial contract with COWORK Entrepreneurs and with each other pledging to do their fair share of the work to receive a fair share of the profits. We may be independent, but we work together.
- First a contract with all the other colleagues pledging collaboration and responsibility for self-management.
- Second, a contract with the company regarding compensation.
Where there is no boss, you are in charge and you pledge to follow a system of “follow and lead, lead and follow.”
That means you and your colleagues will have to take responsibility not only for yourselves, but for each other.
You Become a Mentor for Problem Colleagues
So you may ask, “Without bosses, who runs the show?”
Co-workers are more likely to recognize personnel problems far quicker than bosses who only discover laggards or incompetents through the annual review or the grapevine. Under SSP, you have that responsibility.
This doesn’t mean you are expected to “call a co-worker out.” Or act like a boss.
Again, we are all independent, but we all have mutual responsibility. Your approach is to be more human. Your job is to problem-solve.
You approach the person with the problem, offering to become his or her mentor. You may have been chosen by the team. Be positive. Instead of raising issues about the colleague’s work, offer assistance to improve their work.
You may even get some of the other co-workers to help in this collegial OJT. Especially ones who have already adjusted to the uncommon opportunities and responsibilities of owning their own work.
If the subject co-worker refuses, you report it to your team leader who makes the same offer of help. If it is again refused, or mentoring fails, then it’s time to either call for professional coaching or turn to mediation.
If mediation fails, then the worker is dismissed by a majority vote of the coworkers in the affected team and the colleague’s contract is broken.
Remember, the top-level managers are there to manage the company, not its people. They are there to coach people. Managing them is the joint responsibility of those who work together.
All the indie entrepreneurs in COWORK Entrepreneurs™ are aware of this process and agree to it upon joining the company.
It is not meant to be a threat, but an assurance that everyone’s contracts will be automatically renewed every year if there have been no serious problems. All you have to do is take ownership and accept all the responsibilities that go with it!
You’re in and you stay in. You have control of your own destiny!
Under the SSP plan, assurance means improvement will be the byword every day of the year, not just lip service between training events. And the profit pool will grow exponentially as everyone gives it their all. Without fear.
You Also Have the Power of Governance
Not only does COWORK Entrepreneurs have no bosses, it has no governing board. You guessed it. That responsibility also falls to you.
I have been an executive for three organizations with governing boards.
Because I know better, my habit is “never to say never,” but it’s hard for me to believe there is a for-profit board (and many non-profits) anywhere in this country whose members are in it for the good of the organization, much less the good of those who work for it. Not even the customers they should represent.
They’re in it for themselves.
CEOs who succeed are either good dancers or good at slight of hand. There is not a job in the world more risky than that of a chief executive officer working for a corporate board. Even with a golden parachute, they have no security. If there is any good answer to why CEOs get such high salaries, it’s because they are agreeing to sit on the hot seat.
The difference in security between you and the CEO is that your position gets minimum compensation and no parachute!
In large corporations, you leave democracy behind when you punch in.
Outside the work place, democracy prevails. People rule in the polling place. Not so in the workplace. Ironic for America, don’t you think? Capitalism is not a democracy.
COWORK Entrepreneurs is a democracy and its people share the power of governance.
The company will publish a periodic financial report for all colleagues including the size and purpose of a reasonable reserve fund intended to smooth out the ups and downs of market share. It will be used to smooth out the ups and downs of shared profits as well. COWORK Entrepreneurs will not be allowed to hold income beyond that level.
You and your colleagues will govern that reserve fund. Which means you will be in charge of the company’s finances.
As the reserve fund grows, colleagues may elect to use some of the excess to fund healthcare and/or retirement benefit packages. Maybe even childcare. After all, we are a socially responsible network!*
You will also have a voice in the annual budget.
Just as importantly, this is a business model that gives everyone a chance to use every ounce of their skills, knowledge and ingenuity while sharing in the wealth created!
Profit Sharing the Ultimate Motivator
As you can see, command and control is not the motivator in COWORK Entrepreneurs™ or its eventual franchises.
What really makes the SSP model work is the mutuality of purpose. Of course the money matters, but critics are wrong when they say the only motivation for today’s workforce is money.
They are talking about unrestrained capitalism. We are not.
Capitalism is good again!
Please move on to the next essay
Social Responsibility (SR) Good for Business
Before COWORK Entrepreneurs launches, much of the details surrounding these ideas will need to be reviewed and probably revised by a business attorney and a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) as well as the leadership team. This is just what I want to do so far, and as I always say to my legal advisers, “I don’t want you to tell me what I can’t do. I want you to figure out how I can do it!”
And to my colleagues I say, “Tell me how to do it better.”
* There is a fail-safe clause in the reserve fund plan. If the colleagues elect to spend the reserve funds in a way that would jeopardize the financial stability of the company, as determined by an independent auditor, the company owner — with advice and counsel from the franchisor — is required by contract with the colleagues to step in. A last resort exercise of power, yes, but not the last word. It’s “back to the drawing boards.” Not a flat out rejection. A delay and a renewal of a mutual goal. A responsible plan to reach the goal.