Our educational system today is creating employees and business owners with entrepreneurial minds. For those who become business owners, this is absolutely necessary. How does or should this change the workplace dynamic?
What is an entrepreneurial mind?
- finding opportunities.
- identifying and solving challenges.
- personal development.
- increasing profit.
Entrepreneurs are creative thinkers who don’t accept the status quo without asking intelligent questions. Managing people with entrepreneurial minds is like herding cats!
Employers and Employees
Employers and employees have changed drastically over the last 50-70 years. The world has changed at such a fast pace that we have three generations of confused business owners, managers and employees trying to figure how to keep the economy moving. Authoritative business models are struggling with the change to a peer structured co-operative system today. Three different styles and no real leaders any more. Or, are there? We just don’t see them because we are looking for our old lenses that are all scratched and cloudy!
Employers of the past.
After the Second World War, there was so much demand for products that people started companies that hired many people. They created a family environment where the company recognized their social responsibility to their employees, their greatest asset. Employees felt cared about and gave back their best work, time and loyalty. You could end up in a fist fight when you criticized someone’s employer.
Employees of the past.
After the Second World War, there was a great period of economic recovery and it was driven by manufacturing. Many families could now afford things like cars, new furniture and new clothes. They were made by their neighbours in the local communities. The men returning from the war were glad to have work to do. The need was for people who were willing to work assembly lines and for skilled tradesmen. This meant the educational system had different demands. People were trained on the basics. Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmetic. Most teaching was by rote, memory work. Abstract thinking was actually not as desirable because these kinds of people would never be satisfied with production work. Those who were more “educated” were usually identified as potential management or would join professions like the legal or medical communities.
Employers of today.
Companies changed from being privately owned to become large corporations with shareholders that have no vested interest other than return on their money. They have destroyed any illusion of caring about their employees other than how little they can get away with paying and still get productivity out of them. There seems to be some recognition that things need to change but I’m not sure they know how, who or where. The educational system has identified that we need people with entrepreneurial minds. Students today are being trained to think in the abstract and be able to problem solve. They are really being trained to think like business owners. The challenge is that employers are still treating them employees and don’t understand why there is no loyalty and can’t keep them. To get the best out of people with entrepreneurial minds, you need to treat them as business partners, not employees. I’m beginning to believe that we need to educate the current employers so that they can understand their new role and how to take advantage of their greatest assets, their people.
Employees of today.
Today’s workforce crosses three generations. Most of the employees from the post war generation are retiring but there are still some who have to work. Then there is my generation, the 40 and 50 somethings who thought they would work for a company for life with benefits and a pension. Maybe even a gold watch when they retired. IT WAS A LIE! My generation has likely experienced at least 3 or more “life changes”. Pensions have been eaten up for the time between careers. Thank God women entered into the work force. Now there are twice as many workers working for half the pay. Workers are numbers on a spread sheet. Government helped business to destroy or at least neuter most unions. This has held income to zero or negative growth. Employees in the major grocery chains make less than I did in the late 1990’s. I used to have 6 full time people on a night shift re-stocking shelves. Now there might be ONE full time and 3 or 4 part time workers doing the same work. The part time workers make less than I did in 1979! When I was entering the workforce, graduating high school was considered a minimum requirement, a BA was quite an accomplishment, an MBA was a huge advantage. Today you are lucky if you can get an entry level position with a BA. The old Fedex commercial makes quite a statement about even a MBA (Click here to watch). All of these were really designed to work in a structured system for someone else. At least the younger generation has no expectation of long term commitment. They understand full well that they are a number and expendable in the interest of protecting the company bottom line. They give as much loyalty as they expect to receive. Now, the employer has to earn their trust and loyalty, it’s not a given. Simon Sinek Inspiring Loyalty from SupportSeven on Vimeo. Presentation by Simon Sinek explaining the importance of management giving of themselves in order to inspire loyalty in their employees. The younger generation is well educated and have their own minds. Managing this generation is like herding cats! If you want them to follow your lead, you have to convince them you are worth following. Are you?
What’s in the future?
I’m not sure how my crystal ball is these days but I believe there needs to be drastic change in:
- How government supports economic growth.
- The effects of shareholders on business operations.
- Training managers and executives.
- Corporate social responsibility.
Technically, a corporation is treated like a person under the law. Maybe it’s time we apply human expectations along with the fiscal responsibilities. Corporations need to become more entrepreneurial and learn to solve the problems that lead to economic malaise rather than using people to solve the short term issues. Managers and executives need to learn how these young entrepreneurial minds work figure out how to treat them as business partners. The time when people responded just “because I said so” is long gone. You can either hire entrepreneurs and treat them with the respect they deserve or compete with them. Will you be part of the problem or the solution?
Make it a great day,