Business Model Has No Bosses

Self-management, Opportunity Rule

In COWORK Entrepreneurs and its franchises, everyone owns his or her own work. Therefore there is no need for bosses. Independence and personal opportunity are the forces that drive performance.

The idea of “companies of one” first appeared prior to the new millennium when  knowledge management (KM) was to be the next best thing after information management (IM).

Information, as it had turned out, was just data. When corporate archives filled to overflowing, the Information Age was a disappointment.

Information, after all, has no soul or specific purpose. It can’t activate itself. It is inert, leaving the promise of its power wanting.

The Knowledge Age was next in line.

The primary principles of KM were:

    • Knowledge is an asset held by people.
    • Therefore, people are assets, not cost centers.
    • Knowledge is an intangible asset.
    • It can’t be managed like tangibles (money).
    • Command and control is out. Leadership is in.
    • The power is in knowledge sharing.

“I joined the army of advocates who believed we could use KM as a way of changing management mindsets,” Jerry Ash, founder and head coach of COWORK Entrepreneurs, recalls.

“As advocates, we did not expect the bean counters to move people from the liability column to the assets column on their balance sheets.”

But the greater problem was in the business model

The question became “how to change the ways of both management and labor?” For the last century they have been on both sides of the fence — adversaries, not partners.

Business was loath to give up the command and control style of management. Labor saw knowledge as power to be hoarded, not shared. Let alone invested.

Neither changed their ways.

Employers began mining the minds of its employees, seeking to turn the intangibles owned by people into information owned by the company. Then they would sue the same people for using “company assets” for their personal gain.

As you might expect, employees continued to keep as much of their knowledge as possible to themselves.

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