How many jobs give you the opportunity to fly a jet (commercial though!) to a meeting in another state in the morning and fly back home at close of business, on the same day?
How many jobs give you the opportunity to meet the number of magnificent people we are opportuned to meet on a daily basis – “C” level officers of big corporations that most people only read of in the papers, Government policy makers and drivers, all sorts of entrepreneurs and business owner and other amazing people of all ages who are working to make a better life for themselves and others?
How many jobs give you the opportunity to play major roles in the decision making process for the development of nation changing infrastructures – deployment of fibre optics cables and capabilities across the Atlantic, establishing last miles internet connections, building power infrastructures, development and execution of new growth strategies for industries and their value chains, mid-wifing change in orientation, policies and practices that change the way we live our lives, and promoting small businesses and individual and facilitate the turning of their dreams to reality?
They say a man will tell his bankers what he can’t tell his wife. Well, how many jobs, apart from law or medicine, give you that opportunity to be engaged with people on that level.
We are the biggest facilitator of dreams and ambitions. I have driven on particular roads with pride because I knew how the road was financed. I have bought products with excitement knowing I was a part of the success story of the companies that produced them. It feels great to know I have influenced the way people do their businesses because I was integral to designing and creating that business process. It is amazing when you know you count and your job counts in the scheme of things. Truth is if you look deeply at what you do, you will see that it counts. What you do is making someone’s life better, and making the world a much better place to live in. This is dignity of labour, and everyone deserves it!
Sometimes we get consumed by the drudgery of our daily tasks and lose sight of the beautiful tapestry our actions are contributing to because of the nomenclature by which we are called – employee, worker, servant, daily rated staff and the list goes on, but that does not change the big picture.
I know people become what they are called. This is the reason why highly desirable workplaces have changed the nomenclature used in their workplaces. Entry level staff are now called Executive Trainees, junior level officer are now referred to as junior executives and so on, sales reps are now called sales consultants, and then the big advocacy, to address everyone, from CEO to cleaner, on first name basis (this one feels like a counter culture though, especially if you are Yoruba), but it has brought some of the biggest benefits to our modern workplaces. It has shortened the power distance that characterized the market, and has strengthened the resolve of younger team members to work hard knowing that one day they could be running the shop. Interestingly, it has increased respect in the workplace because finally it has become clear that power is not a product of your nomenclature. Most importantly, it is creating a new set of worker-entrepreneurs I’ll call Intrapreneurs.
Intrapreneurs work for the company, but they know they are not just some dispensable tools; they are the powerhouse of the organization. They work like owner-managers only that they may not be owners. They bring their skills, their energies, creativity and vision to the table, to create and enhance the value of the organization. They work with a different believe system; they are not waiting for 5pm so they can close, they are willing to go beyond the ordinary to deliver outstanding services in their quest for excellence. They may miss the mark sometimes, but they are committed. They also know their value and the power they have to positively disrupt systems. When they are unhappy, they don’t form unions, or spend their energy complaining about a system they don’t own, they find a new place or else create a new company or business altogether. Everyone may not become an entrepreneur, but we can all become intrapreneurs.
I believe in Entrepreneurship and I am one, and I also believe in intrapreneurship. People always talk about how one day they intend to leave and start their own thing. They encourage each other to one day become entrepreneurs, and that sound very nice, but in reality, to get to that place where you own the organization, you need to be a successful intrapreneur first. Becoming a successful intrapreneur requires that you understand that your job function or responsibility is not just one of those chores you must do, that it is your business! It requires that you understand that you and your colleagues are not just workers or dispensable tools, but enterprise owners, responsible for creating the desired value. That you are not just waiting to be assigned a job, but you are part of a creative process that generates the service to be delivered; that it is not just sufficient to come to work and close at 5pm, but you must exude passion and drive and the willingness to service your customer. It is at this point that your work takes on a life of its own, and mutates from drudgery to fun; where suddenly, you see the big picture, the possible profit, the next change that must happen and the courage to protect and grow your enterprise.
One of the things I love about the structure we run in the banking industry in Nigeria is that every business unit has to function like an organization within the organization. As a business team you have to compete for your share of mind within the organization. You have to defend why the Bank must commit its resources to your business. You must find your own work space and pay for it, set your own targets, look for your own income, manage your own expenses, and meet your PBT figures. You must set your strategies, think up the resource you need, find your own deals and push until you close the deals. No one will do that for you. All your seniors executives do is agree your budget and give you the environment to execute. No one is going to think for you or assign you a job, and if someone has to, you may be asked to go, or a boss will be found for you. You defend your own credits requests, find your own customers, innovate your own transaction structures, design your marketing efforts and develop your own solutions and even find your own staff. In short, you are required to take ownership of your business. That is what intrapreneurship is about! This is the point where work becomes fun because you can see how everything you are doing is going to add up to the bank’s bottom line. Aren’t these what entrepreneurs do?
In summary, you need to change your paradigm. Enterpreneurship must start with intrapreneurship. If you are not faithful, creative, inspired and dedicated to another man’s, who will give you your own (In Jesus’ words).
My point is, you job adds value to humanity. You need to take ownership of your role and become a die-hard intrapreneur. It is only a matter of time before your entrepreneurship will be released.