Why You, and Everyone in Your Organization, Should Think and Act Like a Business Owner

Leadership Speaker Mack Story

Note: The principle of thinking and acting like a business owner applies to everyone in any industry at any level. And, it’s the secret to success!

The following is an excerpt (Chapter 7) from my newest book, Blue-Collar Leadership: Leading from the Front Lines. Click here to order the book. 

This entire book was written as a resource for developing the entry-level, front line, blue-collar workforce. In it, I help them understand why they should lead themselves well and how to lead themselves well. My goal is to leaders help their team members think and act like a business owner. When they do, everybody wins.

Chapter 7

THE SECRET TO YOUR SUCCESS

YOU GET PAID BY OTHERS, BUT YOU WORK FOR YOURSELF

When you take charge of your life, there is no longer need to ask permission of other people or society at large. When you ask permission, you give someone veto power over your life. ~ Albert F. Geoffrey

I’m about to share the inside scoop with you: the secret to success. As you read this chapter, keep the chapter on common sense in mind. Actually, you need to keep that chapter in mind throughout this book, but especially here because uncommon sense is needed to get the full value out of what I’ll be sharing.

Who do you work for? Think about it. Understanding your answer matters, and it matters a lot.

When I’m speaking to groups on leadership, one of the questions I often ask them is, “Who do you work for?” Immediately, people begin to shout the name of the company where they work. Some with great pride and others simply because they think that’s what I want to hear.

It’s always instantly clear to me they haven’t thought much about the answer to the question or the impact the answer has on their choices day in and day out while they’re at work.

I believe this will most likely be an eye-opening and key chapter for you as you begin to see things differently.

Once the shouting dies down, I follow up saying, I didn’t ask, who is paying you to work? I asked, who are you working for?”

Someone else is always paying you to work, but you are always working for yourself. This is true whether you own your own company or whether you work at someone else’s company. If you weren’t working for yourself, you wouldn’t expect to be paid.

For some reason, it’s easy for others to see that people who own their own business are working for themselves, but so is everyone else when you really think about it. And, you really need to think about it.

When people understand they are working for themselves, they have a different mindset. They see themselves as the business owner and everyone else as customers, potential customers, and/or as potential advertisers telling others about their business through word of mouth referrals. Everyone agrees word of mouth is the best type of advertisement.

They expect to serve the customers who are paying them to work, not be served by them. They care what customers think about doing business with them. They intentionally do a better job because they know it matters. They care how they make their customers feel because their customers will determine how well their business does in the future. Will it grow or will it slow? They want more business and as much positive word of mouth advertising as possible. Who wouldn’t?

You most likely work at a company owned by someone else. However, if you accept a payment for the service/labor you provide, you are definitely working for yourself. Let that sink in for a minute.

You are in business for yourself because you are working for yourself. Your product is physical labor mixed with shared ideas.

For many, this is an odd way to look at yourself and your job. No matter how odd it may seem, if you apply uncommon sense, it is crystal clear. As a result of this new discovery, your view on everything about your job and those you work with should be reconsidered. What needs to change?

The lessons in this book will now be even more important. That’s a small example of how being aligned with the proper reality can change your thoughts. When your thoughts are aligned with reality, you are much better positioned to build stronger relationships and achieve amazing success.

If the light bulb hasn’t gone off yet, let me help you. What this means is everyone you interact with at work is either a customer, potential customer, and/or a potential advertiser spreading either positive or negative word of mouth advertisement about your business: YOU.

To generate good profit, it’s critical not only to understand but to anticipate what customers value, their expectations, measures, incentives, needs, alternatives, and decision-making processes. ~ Charles G. Koch

This also means your boss is your #1 customer. He or she can help you or hurt you the most.

Do you treat them as your #1 customer? If you do, things are probably pretty good for you. If you don’t, anyone with common sense will know things may not be so good.

What type of word of mouth advertising is being spread about your business (YOU) throughout the organization by your boss and all of the other people you work and interact with?

All of those people will talk to others about you and how you serve them as customers, just as you do to others. When they are interacting with you for any reason, they are your customer. Just like when a business owner provides complimentary service and hopes the non-paying customer will, at a minimum, give positive word of mouth advertisement, this is what happens every day on the front lines. People talk about other people.

How you serve your paying and non-paying customers has a major impact on your promotions, your raises, your influence, your options, your growth in the company or your termination from the company, and ultimately, your future working in other departments or even other companies.

How you operate, your business, matters. And, it matters a lot!

The key to moving beyond average is doing what exceptional people do, not wanting what they have. ~ Mack Story