Monday, May 26, 2008

Working On Your Business, Is Working On Your Life

Working on your business, is working on your life.  Life if what business is about and your business should create more life for everyone.  In The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, Michael E. Gerber writes about how going to work on your business, is going to work on your life.

Going to Work on the Business, is Going to Work on Your Life
Gerber writes that working on your business development is a metaphor for working on your life:

"On a more practical level, what we've experienced in our work with small business is that, as the Business Development Process becomes an integral part of the business, it also becomes an integral part of the communication between the participants.  It becomes not only a way of thinking and a way of doing, but a way of being as well.  You might say that while going to work on the business, people begin to realize that it is a powerful metaphor for going to work on their lives.

Create More Life for Everyone
According to Gerber, your business should create more life for everyone:

"And that, I believe, is the heart of the process:  not efficiency, not effectiveness, not more money, not to 'downsize' or 'get lean,' but to simply and finally create more life for everyone who comes into contact with the business, but most of all, for you, the person who owns it.

Continuous Improvement for Its Own Sake is a Waste of Time
According to Gerber, improvement doesn't mean anything if it doesn't address the hearts, minds, and souls of people: 

"So, I obviously feel passionately about the subject.  What you call it doesn't really matter; call it the Business Development Process, Reengineering, TQM, Excellence, or Kaizen -- the entire subject becomes a desultory process if it doesn't address the hearts and minds and souls of people.  Quality is just a word, and an empty word at that, if it doesn't include harmony, balance, passion, intention, attention.  Continuous improvement for its own sake is a waste of time.

Life is What a Business is About
Gerber writes that life is what business is all about:

Life is what a business is about, and life is what this work is about.  Coming to grips with oneself, in the face of an incredibly complex world that can teach us if we're open to learn.  In this way, the Business Development Process can be thought of as a metaphor for personal transformation, for coming to grips with real life.  For developing real skills within a structure of your own design.  For understanding the dynamics of change, of value, of communication, of thought.

An Opportunity to Fulfill Whatever is Fulfillable
Gerber writes that business is an opportunity to fulfill whatever is fulfillable:

"But what it is, in the end, is an opportunity to fulfill whatever is fulfillable in the place you find yourself now, and in any future place you could occupy with enough imagination and enough of a wish."

Key Take Aways
Here's my key take aways:

  • Going to work on your business, is going to work on your life.
  • Business should create more life for everyone.
  • Continuous improvement doesn't matter if it doesn't improve the hearts, minds, and souls of people.
  • Business is about learning and growing and is a metaphor for life.
  • Business is an opportunity to realize our dreams and fulfill whatever is fulfillable.

I particularly like this perspective.  It reminds me that the only box we have at work is the one we put ourselves into.  This is truly a time for self-leadership and personal empowerment.   It's a great time to be an Entrepreneur or an Intrapreneur.  I think of Microsoft as one big land of opportunity, with plenty of smart people, resources, and potential.  The key is unleashing it.

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