Your Work – Technician, Manager or Entrepreneur?
Within each of us there is a technical expert, a manager and an entrepreneur.
The book E-myth by Michael Gerber discusses this phenomenon in relation to achieving small business success. He repeatedly positions the successful and fulfilled small business owner as one who must tap into all of these elements within you, rather than the place most of us start – the technical expert.
The technical expert must be able to do specific tasks required to deliver an experience to a customer in a consistent way.
The manager must develop and maintain systems to ensure that the technical experts have the information to perform their roles in a consistent way.
The entepreneuer must view the business from the perspective of the customer, anticipating change and planning for the future as well as communicating their vision and motivating employees to achieve it in order to give customers a special experience that can’t be found elsewhere.
But what about if you’re not a business owner and work for someone else?
Can’t you just go into work and do your job? What if you are extremely skilled and knowledgeable at that job? What if you do that job better than anyone else in your place of employment? Isn’t that good enough? The answer is a resounding… no. We align the need to be technician, manager and entrepreneur to more than just the small business applies to employees at every level within any organization. Why? Because, if you go into your work and treat it simply as a ‘job’, in the end you won’t be able to manage all the other things that are required of you.
So, what’s required of me?
Isn’t it enough to just go to work and do the technical component of the job and then go home? Well, it’s simply not the same world we lived in 30 years ago. Change is now happening at an exponentially more rapid pace and what’s required of every employee is more than what was required not just 25 years ago, but more than what was required last week. In order for organizations to compete in this new world, everyone needs to play a role in helping it predict and respond to the changing environment.
So what does this mean to an employee just trying to do their job?
It means that the “job” does not just include doing a set of specific tasks. It means that as an expert in a specific area, whether you be a front line employee or leader, you have an obligation to share your thoughts and ideas on how to continually improve your work and understand how those changes might impact the management of the work and the experience of the end customer. It’s not enough to just bring your technical expertise to the company door every morning. You’re also expected to bring your inner manager and entrepreneur to the job which involves good communication skills, your creativity, your ability to work with others in a respectful way and your adaptability, just to name a few things. Even within each of these skills lies an entire set of subskills such as emotional intelligence, appropriate tone and body language, empathy, inclusion, self awareness, time management and organization. You need them all to succeed in this new world. And unfortunately, these are the areas where people fall down and in many cases, lose their jobs. Most people don’t lose their jobs because they don’t have the technical skills, it’s all the other stuff that causes problems.
As a technical expert what can you do?
The good news is there are lots of options for training out there today to help you hone your inner manager and entrepreneur and many don’t involve going into a classroom. Consider building your skills not only in your area of technical expertise, but in the other areas used by the inner manager and entrepreneur such as communication skills, personality inventory, conflict management, leadership, team development, time management and organizational skills. Everyone has an inner manager and entrepreneur. We just need to tap into them.