In the July 9, 2015 post I discussed the value of setting your own Independence Day. Respond to this post in the Comment section below or write me @JonHokama to let me know know about your progress or what questions you might have about setting your Independence Day!
I also touched on an even more outrageous dilemma last week. If we choose our ruts well and trundle on to achieve our own Independence Day, we may inadvertently create a situation more troubling than the previous one. We might have to deal with our employees’ jealousy of us and frustrations about not getting to experience some of that same hard-fought freedom we have achieved.
How do you avoid this problem? Here are three key factors to set your wheels in the right grooves toward your Independence Day:
Clarify company objectives so everyone in the company owns some portion of them.
This enables your team to become stakeholders instead of hourly employees. Employees are disconnected from their own life purpose and from that of the company they serve. When each person is a stakeholder, s/he becomes indispensable to achieving the company mission and should reap the benefits accordingly.
Rather than focusing on the number of hours worked in a day, s/he could focus on progress toward achieving firm objectives each day. For example, if you pay someone to work 8 hours per day but they could figure out a way to achieve those same objectives in 6 or 7 hours a day, they would, in essence, get a pay-raise. If they are allowed a say on what to do with that extra time, they could enjoy some of the freedoms that the owner does.
To set yourself, your stakeholders and your firm up for success, provide clear direction on what the firm needs to achieve.
If you create an atmosphere in which your stakeholders are equally committed to the purposes of your firm, they ask, “I think I could tackle X next. What do you think, Mr. Owner?” Stakeholders should have an opportunity to take on some of the owner rewards in the form of bonuses or profit sharing tied to achieving objectives.
Challenge your stakeholders to set their own “Independence Day.”
For some of them, it could be getting onto an ownership track. For others, it might be defined in terms of flex-time or profit sharing or other favorable benefits.
As an owner, how might you create this atmosphere of freedom?
Here’s a story I recently stumbled across that captures how to do it. (The story also caught my attention because it describes a town my younger daughter recently visited).
Jordan Milne relates the story and the lesson he learned from interacting with vendors in the marketplace of Luang Prebang, Laos.
The market was lively and vibrant, with passers-by walking among the stalls and bargaining with local merchants for their hand-crafted goods. I eventually spotted something I liked enough to enter into the process I had witnessed so many others engaged in. The bargaining went back and forth. Both of us starting miles apart, knowing full well that we were out of line and would soon meet near the middle. It was like a dance.
After several numbers, the vendor looked up and, as we settled on the magic one, she spoke the following words with a mischievous look in her eye: “Good deal for me. Good deal for you.” I laughed, as I had heard that phrase several times in the 10 minutes leading up to this point, but I accepted. “Good deal for me. Good deal for you,” I repeated with a smile.
Milne went on to say that your business team also needs to be able to say, “Good deal for me. Good deal for you.” If every team member has the kind of dynamic interplay with work objectives balanced with personal flexibility, everyone benefits. No longer will there be either a “Bad deal for me. Good deal for you.” or a “Good deal for me. Bad deal for you.”
You and your team of stakeholders (not employees) will say, “Good deal for me. Good deal for you.”
What can you do this week to set up your employees for a successful journey from employee to stakeholder? Here are two suggestions to get you started:
- Schedule a meeting with yourself to assess your firm. What’s the first thing you can do to set your employees on the path to stakeholdership?
- Write to @JonHokama to visit a 3to5 Club community who will help you learn how to get your stakeholders to join you in the experience of getting to their “Independence Day.”
Set an appointment with yourself to work on transforming your firm into one with objectives owned by everyone. The first 5 people in Denver who follow me @JonHokama and send me a note at my Twitter handle, will get a FREE copy of my “Freedom Tool” to help your employees on this journey.