While the hierarchal business organization still predominates, it’s also changing. Now, the hierarchal model is flatter and amorphous in Brand U organizations. Innovative organizational models are often based on interlocking groups, virtual partnerships, strategic alliances, and matrix organizations.
“Peter F Drucker, … has a new message for traditional corporate executives: Find another line of work.”[i] Tough message from the father of modern management. He goes on: “The unique 20th Century creation, the corporation, is not going to survive in the 21st Century.” Where will the best and brightest put their creative energies?
Knowledge workers will become Brand U workers who will put their energies into maximizing their economic ideas with the employer who offers the most challenge. These people will also save their best efforts for nonprofit service organizations where they can make a big difference.
[i] Pollack, Andrew, “Seeing the Corporation’s Demise,” NY Times, November 14, 1999. p. 2.
“Among some types of Information Technology professionals – who are very much in demand these days – the generally accepted turnover rate hovers around 50 percent. This means the average worker switches jobs every six months, essentially on a project-by-project basis” according to a recent New York Times article.[i]
[i] Schwartz, “Career Sites Gain Rapidly, Along with Job Hopping.” NY Times, October 4, 1999, p. C5.
What’s his rationale for this risky move? “There are two kinds of people – the ones who went to Woodstock and the ones who wish they did. I definitely want to be one of the people who was there,” said one person moving to an Internet start-up.[i]
[i] Lyons, Daniel, “Woodstock and the Web,” Forbes, August 23, 1999, p. 42.
Great! But, what are you going to do about it. What are your next steps? Nike’s logos say it all: ‘Just Do It’ or ‘I can’. What type of worker are you going to be? You can be a ‘fulfillment seeker,’ ‘risk taker,’ ‘high achiever,’ ‘clock puncher,’ ladder climber,’ or ‘paycheck cashier.’ The Brand U choice is yours.
Showing up is 80 percent of life.
Woody Allen, Writer
I’m a Gutenberg person. What do I mean? Well, I process information; in this case the written word, in a left-to-right, linear narrative. Each sentence has a thought that builds into the next sentence, paragraph, section, and chapter. The process builds on itself leading to insights, conclusions and recommendations. Most of our communications and decision-making are based on this linear model.
More of us are evolving into digital people. Let me explain. The people growing up today, including many in their twenties, seem to process information in almost a non-linear fashion. Several examples may clarify this. Have you ever seen a music video? Powerful, kinetic images and language are flashed to us every several seconds. The Gutenbergs among us say ‘say what?’ The younger folks say ‘cool.’ Digital information is conveyed and processed differently almost experientially. The Gutenbergs sometimes miss the video experience because the images and lyrics don’t seem to be connected and make little sense.
People work for a big company usually because of its strength, security, benefits, and stability. All of which are not found in a small company. As well, big companies offer challenges and resources to do things small company employees can only dream of. In big organizations, there is often a well-defined career path. Big projects are funded and there are sufficient resources to complete them.
Big companies are different than small companies and sometimes radically so. What ensures success in one is often a death wish in the other. For example, corporations often reward obedience, conformity, risk aversion, backslapping, and policy conformance. On the other hand, traditional entrepreneurial strengths include independence, risk taking, nonconformity, and a ‘breaking the rules’ mentality.
So you’ve got a great idea and you don’t want to share it. Well find your risk sensitivity. Are you risk taking or risk averse? If you like risks, one option is go out on your own. If you have a good track record, chances are you’ll attract investment like flowers attract bees.
I’ve started a number of small businesses. Some tanked, others broke even, and one or two actually made money. This is after years of very hard work – many 80-hour weeks and little pay. Would I do it again? You bet, in a heartbeat – no in a nanosecond! Why? It’s partly freedom and the rush of doing my own thing.