A Different Point of View!
by Rick Sidorowicz
I think it’s useful every once and a while to dig down into the archives, pull out a few contentious items and ‘take stock’ for a reality check of what progress we’ve really made. The series - The Independent Business Professional was from a ‘less enlightened age’ when large organizations were so very traditional - and slow - and no fun at all. They were the dinasaurs of business - unable to adapt to the new business reality - replaced by more the agile, rightsized, and competitive enterpises of today. It might however, be useful to review and reflect on how far we’ve come - for a ‘refreshing’ reality check. (ed.)
A Different Point of View!Independent business professionals have had to come to grips with the basics of business - how to add value and achieve results, fast. The challenge of the independent contractor parallels that of organizations having to redefine ‘themselves’ to continue to be relevent in a ‘difficult’ and unforgiving environment. It then makes good sense for organizations interested in cultural change to tap into the growing pool of independent talent, specifically to inject a new and more relevant midset of performance. Independent business men and women can offer a contemporary set of skills and strengths to accelerate and drive change efforts in organizations in every discipline.
The view of an organization’s processes, activities, operating values, and people from an outsider’s perspective can be ‘enlightening,’ to say the least. Large, typical, traditional bureaucracies offer the most fertile landscape for the strangest of characters and most 'interesting’ behaviours and rituals. The independent’s point of view and perspective is dramatically different.
The perspective of the independent professional entering an organization is generally rooted in the following outlook or attitude:
Here are two of the more obvious differences between the ‘culture’ of traditional organizations and the mindset of the independent contractor:
Organizations work on activities and focus on control:Activity: An ongoing series of actions to accomplish some desired output; consuming resources, time, and attention, and yielding certain outcomes, products, or outputs; a high propensity of inertia in requiring external force to initiate, stop, or change.
Control: To dominate, influence, have authority over; to regulate; to check or restrain; to be ‘in the know’ and have no surprises; at best achieved only briefly in tiny segments of the universe; usually an illusory sense of the ability to directly influence the outcomes of events.
Independent business professionals work on projects and focus on performance:Project: A planned or contemplated venture or set of activities to achieve a desired outcome, result or destination; making something new or different happen; accomplishing something; key elements include a start, action, and completion.
Performance: The act, process, or manner of ‘doing’ and accomplishment; fulfillment; an accomplishment or deed; getting ‘stuff’ done.
The perspective of the independent outsider is indeed very different from those operating within large bureaucracies. The context is different and (assertion) more focused on creating value. The attitude is very different and (assertion) more interested in performance. Independents outperform (assertion) simply because they have to. The answers to a few simple questions set the independents apart:
The moral of the story?If you are working as an independent business professional, or want to, or think you will have to, focus on projects, performance, and the achievement of results.
If you don’t want to be an independent business professional, start acting like one to improve the liklihood of keeping your job.
And if you are truly interested in improving performance - hire independents, engage them, and get as many independent thinking individuals into your organization as you can to move it quickly, dramatically, and very positively.
Get Stuff Done Fast!
The Independent Business Professional
Many more articles in Performance Improvement in The CEO Refresher Archives