The employee is the one at the bottom of the pyramid. He is the one getting orders from others, he is the one working to make the business owner richer, he is the one investing all his energy for someone else’s sake. His income is limited to his paycheck, when someone else decides the size of this paycheck.
The business owner is the one in the middle of the pyramid. No one tells him what to do, he works for himself. He is the one investing all his energy in his business. His income depends on his own energy. The less energy he invests the weaker the business gets.
The automatic business owner, is at the top of the pyramid. No one tell him what to do. He along with his business works for himself. He invests his time in being creative and planning ahead. The business works independently. His income does not depend solely on his energy and that is why his income is not limited.
If you get and fully understand this pyramid that describes the future evolution of the business world, your entire way of thinking will change, and everything you thought or knew about managing a business will take an important turn. Your blood and sweat will be replaced with the powers of your creativity and the wonders of technology.
Don’t get me wrong, we believe in hard work, but we don’t believe in endless never-ending work. We don’t believe that in order to run a successful business, the owner needs to work 24 hours a day 7 days a week. While we believe that you must not neglect any aspect of your business being it, marketing, sales, day to day management, customer management, orders and suppliers, cash flow. In fact everything needs to work perfectly.
Sounds like a big paradox no?
What if I told you that the more you work in your business the less effective you are? And even more than that, the less you work in your business the more efficient you are?
I want to tell you a story that I heard from one of my ex-colleagues, Amanda. I got to know Amanda when I was working as a senior manager in one of the big investment banks in London. Every Wednesday after work we used to catch up in one of the local trendy bars. Amanda was a project manager and this is what she told me one day.
“The projects I was running at the time where in the automation business. Those were huge projects that used to cost millions to execute. Everything was very organized and official. In one of the projects I was asked to look into a specific department that was busy processing summery reports for the trading floors. I have been asked to analyze the needs and come up with a summary of the project plan. I took the first days to learn all about the department and watch what they were doing on their day to day routine.
The department worked in a semi-automatic process. Most of their reports were generated automatically and some were produced manually.
My impression was that completing this specific project will not take long and the cost would be according to this.
On my last day of analyzing the department. I was asked to sit next to one of the employees. I always thought that he looked more stressed that the rest and had less time to have chit-chat with the rest of the people in the department.
When I was sitting next to him, I was amazed to realize that on his computer screen, instead of the usual in-house application, I was looking at a Word document.
This employee named Andy was busy typing word documents all day long! And more than that, Andy was the one who was responsible for the riskiest transactions. He was the one producing the reports for the more complex trades. And the whole thing was completely done in Word documents!!
I was shocked…The simple trades were done automatically, while the risky ones done manually.
I quickly changed my project plan analysis, and reported to senior management that the project needed to take an urgent turn and we that we seriously needed to reconsider the budget and timeframe of it all.
Senior management dismissed me and decided not take my recommendations seriously. I was hardly surprised. In these places there is a little place for persuasion. The official answer was, this will have to do for now and we have never had any special problems.
So, I invested my time in the planning and execution of the original plans. The project was coming along nicely. The last days of the project were dedicated to testing of the new application and fixing bugs. Naturally, I spent a lot of time with the department. Suddenly there was a phone call. Andy got a call from the trading floor. I watched him pick the phone up, keeping silent and handing up the phone looking all pale and scared. I later found out it was a call from the trading floor desk head himself. We were all watching poor Andy walking with his head down to the trading floor awaiting his destiny.
It was discovered that Andy, mistyped the transaction directions so the client was owed a large amount of money instead of the bank. The bank had to take a huge loss. This seemingly simple mistake cost millions. One typing mistake of an overly tired employee.
The next day at precisely eight o’clock, I was asked to attend an important meeting with the department head. The conversation we had was attended by all the senior managers overseas. Needless to mention this meeting took a different tone to the one we held before….
A big bank can take a big loss. A small business can’t!