People will be people. The old saying is true: “If you give some people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”
So, how can COWORK Entrepreneurs with no bosses assure competence and performance? Owner and Head Coach Jerry Ash has the answer:
“I realize a few laggards and incompetents show up in most any business, but the prospects of independence and a fair share of the profits should cut the number.”
Nevertheless, there will be outliers.
“Our company is a democracy, not an oligarchy and I’ve developed a system of “lead and follow, follow and lead” that will take the place of command and control.”
COWORK Entrepreneurs’ leaders are expected to manage each of their parts of the company. But their responsibility for their people is vested in coaching, not managing. Their people are self-managed.
Everyone in the company from leader to follower signs a contract with the company and with each other.
The key is the “contract with each other.”
Everyone pledges to pull his or her own weight and take responsibility for those who are not living up to the pledge. The contract also calls for knowledge sharing, not hoarding.
“As everyone knows,” Ash says, colleagues know far sooner than bosses when someone is under-performing. Bosses don’t get it until they discover it on the grapevine or during an annual review.
“As indie entrepreneurs we are all in this together,” Ash says. The behavior and performance of each entrepreneur has a direct affect on us all. If we pull together we all achieve higher goals and objectives together. The result is higher income and opportunity for all.
If anyone fails to adopt that view, colleagues — as individuals or as a group — are expected to identify the insufficient person and approach with offers of help. If the offender refuses help, then the Head of Intellectual Capital is to be notified and he or she offers help. If that also fails, then the process moves to mediation and, if unsuccessful, a dissolution of the contract.
For the vast majority of people, the contract assures continued success on a perpetual basis. For them, the contract is automatically renewed on an annual basis unless an issue has occurred. Instead of an annual critique, they get a star and a pep talk.
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