Friday 6 June 2008

Is A Business Owner the Only One Responsible


I came across an interesting question that someone had posted - what is it that a business owner understands and not his employees?

This question immediately struck me - as I have been on both sides with being an employee for much longer than a business owner. I still feel that most of me works, thinks, functions like an employee - but this part of me is fading, slowly but surely.

I have not been able to truly pin-point what is the difference between an employee and an employer - but in my understanding, it is the sense of ownership.

I think the biggest challenge that one faces when the 'cross-over' happens, is the fact that now ownership is all yours. And I don't mean ownership as just who owns a business, but ownership of thoughts, ideas, results, drive, motivation, learning, speed, finances (or the lack of it) - well, just about everything is your own. That means, the-buck-stops-at-you!

As an employee, whether in a large-scale organization of a small one, there is always someone else who was supposed to deliver something - and since that didn't happen, I didn't do what I was supposed to. When one has his / her own business, then these things don't matter. Work not done means lost opportunity and time-wasted.

Having said that, I think it is not only the business owners who can actually feel the pressure of ownership - there are many employees who would take complete ownership of their set of responsibilities and when these responsibilities grow - sense of ownership grows as well.

What it all comes down to is this, if all employees start taking complete ownership of their responsibilities, then their relationship with the employer would improve and thus the employer shall not look like a scary halloween character! This shall improve the overall work culture and atmosphere - thus the results, for one and all!

Cheers...Happy Working!


rohit rajput said...

i agree and disagree with parts of your statement w.r.t. my context(extrapolation) may not apply!

owner v/s employee is more a mindset than a titular or a career orientation. Personally my work style and levels of comittment have stayed the same over the last 6 years (save periods of job transition and handovers) - in my case responsibilty and ownership were qualities that had not much to do with my role, my emplyment status.
Also, i have seen a large number of business owners(at close quarters) with lower levels of responsibilty (even though financial responsibility and risk of capital cant be wished away) than their professional employees.

But if one were to make a generalization- then you might say that a large no of owners are more responsible than the majority of their employees. Only in some cases do exceptions to this rule emerge- and they are evidenced where the managers high level of responsibility is supported by an almost owner like level of operational freedom +budgetry support

Mudit Aggarwal said...

Hi Rohit,

Since I mentioned in my post that I have not been able to truly pin-point what is the difference between an employee and an employer yet...I think if we were to go ahead and actually do a survey of all employees and business owners - the sense of ownership shall be higher in the business-owner group than the employee group...

This does not mean that no employee can have this sense of ownership and this most certainly does not mean that all business owners have it!

Having said that - what I still feel is, if we were to pen-down a couple of points that would actually differentiate between these two mind-sets - then sense of ownership would be one of them!