I was reflecting recently on two business situations I had worked in through the lens of the BG5™ Career & Business Design System. One was a business that I started, and the other was a friend’s business that I spent 7 years working at. Both involved a group of 4 people, and a 5th who was part-time.
The business that I started originated from my vision. It was put together with resources that I found, and I had a business partner, and two employees. We also hired a 5th person when needed to provide additional resources. We started out all working from separate locations and only on rare occasions were we ever all in the same place. And then we moved into a large office space where we all worked together. And from that moment the business felt very different. Whenever we were all there working together there was a dynamic that was very different.
It was the first time I had ever really been aware of that type of dynamic. All of my other work experiences had either been solo, or a partnership, or a much larger company with 50 or more employees. And I watched as we all focused together on a goal, even as each of us worked on different projects, or different parts of the same project. Whenever someone would be missing for a day – the office felt incomplete. The group did not hold together as well.
When we had a really large workload and tight deadlines to meet – we would hire in a temp. And you could almost feel the productivity expand. And it was funny too because inevitably, when the temporary employee was there, my partner and I would start having conversations, or one of us would make the suggestion that with more part time employees we could handle more work. It was like something was urging us to expand the business. And then the temporary employee would leave, and we would look at each other and say – no, we have more than enough work to handle right now.
At a certain point, my business partner decided he wanted to go back to working from his home – but wanted me to stay in the office and manage all of the employees. Management – administration – is not one of my strengths. And I was miserable. When he would not change his mind, I ended up walking away from a business that I myself had created. A very successful business, but one that had gone from satisfying to very frustrating.
When I pulled my energy out of the business – it shifted to a solo enterprise for my business partner. And I started my own business with the two employees but it never felt the same or as grounded as our original group when we were working together. There were gaps in the business skills, and the business did not last long.
When I worked in my friend’s business I witnessed the same group phenomena. She had started the business on her own. She is the Innovator (Initiator) Career Type. She had planned on it being just a small shop she could manage alone. But her husband broke through the back wall one day and doubled the size of the store. She tried managing on her own but it became obvious that she needed help. So she hired two employees to work for her.
The first time I ever walked into the store – I had just moved to town after walking away from the business mentioned above – we did not know each other at all. And when we started talking, she asked me unexpectedly if I would like to work in the bookstore. This was the first time that I had noticed how people ask me a lot if I would like to work for them. My career design just happens to be filled with lots of strengths and business skills, and I am also an Express Builder Type, and I guess something in her recognized the skills she could use. At the time she was asking me to work for her, her other two employees happened to be standing there – so maybe it was more the dynamic of the group that was pulling me in.
I had my own business that I was starting and so I said no. But every time I walked into her store she asked me the same thing. 6 months later my circumstances had changed and so I went back and asked her – did she still want me to work in the store? I got an immediate yes, and within 5 minutes she handed me a key to the store, showed me where the money for the cash register was kept, and assigned me a schedule. No interview – no discussion – it was really quite amazing.
And the same thing happened. Whenever the 4 of us were in the store working together it felt amazing. We all just hummed along. It was truly one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. And I stayed 7 years even though it was basically a low paying job compared to what I made in my own businesses. But I loved it. And the success of the store also just grew and grew over the time I was there. Not that it had not been successful before – but it was like that last extra piece had been added and boom – off it went. My strengths and skills added to those already there and there were no gaps in our working group.
After 7 years I moved on to other things, and when I left that group – it was like the air coming out of a balloon. You could almost feel it, and not long after my friend sold the store and went on to other careers herself.
The mechanics of how we work together as a group are truly amazing. And it is fun, even without data on all of the people in both of these groups, to recognize the dynamics and validate what I was feeling at the time. Knowing my career design now, I can see clearly what I bring to any enterprise. Through no doing of my own, I just happen to have 10 of the 12 Business Skills a Unified Group (3 to 5 people) needs. And I also happen to have a public role that is truly suited for the material world. But it still needs to be the right group, the right mix, the right work and the right environment for me, or none of that matters.
I am really excited to continue exploring the world around me through this knowledge. It is the most practical explanation I have ever found for the way the material world works. And I love testing this methodology out. I’ll report back when I have more to share!