Ashok Shah presented at the June 6th KRS Insights breakfast, based on “Emergence of the ‘Me’ Enterprise,” the book he co-authored with G. Ross Kelly. The book discusses the major trends such as digitization, Uberization, and disintermediation that are transforming the workplace and affecting our careers, whether we realize it or not.
After his talk, we had the opportunity to chat with him in more depth about the ‘Me’ Enterprise and what it means for our careers.
What is different from the past and how is it impacting our careers?
Four major events occurred that changed the landscape dramatically: 9-11 and its economic impact, the 2008 economic downturn, the emergence of technology as a new economic driving force, and global competition. We began hearing words like disruption, Uberization (the conversion of existing jobs and services into discrete tasks that can be requested on-demand), and digitization. We began hearing about disintermediation, which is how technology is eliminating the middle man. What were once absolutes are now uncertain and corporations are struggling for their survival.
As corporations are disrupted and eliminated, they are changing the nature of their relationships with their workforce. Our jobs are being eliminated – whether we’re at the entry level, mid-level, or are senior leaders. We’re on our own and many of the things we traditionally received from corporations are no longer. For instance, if you were offered training by your corporation, chances are that training is no longer available. Now you have to get it on your own.
How does someone adapt?
The leaders and employees who are surviving and thriving in this new environment have adopted a completely different mindset about job security and career growth. They know today’s business practices may be dramatically different six months from now and their work will change just as dramatically. They know their adaptability is key to proving their value to their company and sustaining their employment.
How does the concept of “Me” Enterprise help?
You are an enterprise of one and must prove the value of your work every day.
The “Me” Enterprise frames the question: given all of these changes, how do you behave? Since the security of a nine-to-five job is no longer, how do you act as if you were a contractor or owned your own company? You must learn to operate the same way companies do to stay relevant and competitive in the open marketplace. You must stay in tune with what’s happening today and what will be happening. What is the next Uberization? What is the next job that can be eliminated? You can get this intelligence by attending industry events, and staying current on industry and business trends.
The “Me” Enterprise provides a blueprint for helping you think about and articulate yourvalues, mission, purpose, and niche is in the marketplace. Ask yourself, what do I do and why do I do it? What do I stand for? How do I develop my niche? How do I market and promote myself to showcase my capabilities? How do I sustain and further develop my skills? How do I maintain work life balance? How do I give back to the community? Mapping out your answers helps you create your personal business plan to succeed in the new environment.
How is “perform or perish” part of the “Me” Enterprise?
Your style and knowledge are important, as is your ability to cooperate on a team. But if those qualities don’t produce results, they are soon overlooked. “Perform or perish” is becoming the norm in the corporate world. Corporate stakeholders and customers not only expect, but demand, results from you, and not later, but now. This means you have to evolve from being a problem solver, to one who can sense a problem before or as it occurs, and solve it.
What outcomes can someone expect by establishing their “Me” Enterprise?
While establishing your “Me” Enterprise offers no guarantees, we’ve seen that the light at the end of the tunnel is typically lifetime employability, rather than lifetime employment as in the past.
With its focus on delivering value and results to your employer and customers, the “Me” Enterprise can help you survive and thrive in the new environment.