Source | LinkedIn : By Simon Mansell
A year and a half ago, I became an employee again after 13 years of running an independent digital agency. As you can probably imagine, it was a little bit scary, but also very exciting.
After explaining why I think it’s best not to wait too long before starting your own business a couple of weeks back, now I want to look at making the reverse journey. There are some useful lessons to be learnt from being a business owner, but not everyone gets the opportunity to do it.
So I’m going to explain why I made this decision, and how I think all managers can progress by trying to think more like a business owner and less like an employee.
I was initially a bit worried about working for someone else, but I made my choice very carefully. When I sold my company, I didn’t need to give up the reigns; I could have sold to a parent agency and stayed on as CEO, but this wouldn’t really have changed my personal situation. I wanted a completely new challenge.
A major factor in my decision was finding a place where I thought I could learn something (and the right boss to work for). Ragy Thomas, Sprinklr’s CEO, is someone I can look up to and learn from, and someone who wants to help me grow as a leader instead of telling me what to do and how to do it. Ragy works by setting high-level goals – which he calls “outcomes” – and then helps me to think about how to achieve them.
There is sometimes a tendency to think like an individual when working for someone else, especially when things become difficult. Questions like: What’s in this for me? How will doing this help me get my promotion? When you’ve been an owner, you’ve seen the other side and you know that if you really want to help the company to move forward then sometimes you have to be selfless. If you do tend to think about yourself when you are at work, try making a conscious effort to start thinking about the business. Show more interest in long-term goals and try to think about both sides, what’s good for you and what’s good for the company.
Of course, there are always personal agendas for the head of a team who is concerned about it’s position within the organisation. When I started working for Sprinklr, I continued to think like an owner, but I made a mistake: at first I considered my team as ‘my company’, but I quickly realised that I had to consider what’s best for the whole company. When making the step up to a large organisation, this can be an easy mistake to make. You need to look out for your team, especially if it’s a new one, but you also need to be aware of where the company is going as a whole, because sometimes that isn’t the same as what’s best for your team.