© Ravi Wazir, 2020

What Every Employee Must Know About Business

Over the many years that I’ve worked on various businesses, both for entrepreneurs and for myself, I have discovered many barriers that hamper the success of both businesses and the professionals that work for them. One of these barriers is a lack of understanding about how a business really works.

For instance, when employees collect income for their organisation, they sometimes perceive only themselves to be the true bread winners of their company and even believe that others aren’t adding as much value. Or employees working at a unit level sometimes perceive only themselves to have a “practical” understanding of how the business is run, and are often convinced that since their colleagues at the corporate office aren’t running the business “hands-on”, they have no clue about how a business is run at all.

Such beliefs lead to a disconnect between individual employees and employee groups within organisations, and usually disharmony & conflict follow. As a result, the progress of both the individuals involved as well as the organisation itself is compromised.

So what is it that every employee must understand about business, which will help him stay in sync with his colleagues at work, his bosses & the vision of the company at large?

How a business really starts

Let’s start at the very beginning, i.e. how did this business we work for, start in the first place. Most likely, it was started or founded by one or more promoters... promoters of an idea. This idea, addressed a certain need or a problem in society... or a part of society. This need or problem was fulfilled by offering a certain product or service of value to certain customer groups. In return for the value they received, these customer groups gave the promoters money, i.e. the income of the business.

But we must remember that this receiving of money from customers only began after the promoters first believed in their idea enough, and then put in enough time, effort and money to get the business started.

Before they actually began, they needed to gauge a few key things about the business:

  1. First, the quantity and quality of resources it would take to execute their vision. One of those resources being employees.
  2. Next, which customer groups would see value in their distinctive offer, and how best they could be reached.
  3. Further, the amount of sales they would need to make a profit on the venture.

These promoters risked a lot without knowing whether or not the market would really reward them for their effort or the time they put in. In terms of money, they may have put in not just their own, but also money they might have borrowed from others. These promoters could well have put not just their basic financial security at stake, but also some of their close personal relationships on the line.

So one must appreciate, that despite such uncertain circumstances... it was basically these promoters who undertook the entire risk of the business venture & it was they who made it happen.

Rationalizing Conflict

It is natural for two individuals or groups within an organisation to experience conflict.

There are times when there are clashes between a senior employee and his subordinate. A mature senior will usually take an objective approach by accepting an appropriate idea from anyone... regardless of what level in the hierarchy they are at. A senior who doesn’t take an objective approach, is in fact doing his employer a disservice each time he takes a decision for his organisation.

If you are the subordinate at the receiving end of such lack of objectivity, remember that there is little you can really do, apart from trying to rally the support of others in the organisation that might be willing and able to influence that particular decision.

If you are in a position where you are questioning the wisdom of your senior’s very existence in the organisation, remember that someone senior enough to take that call believed that your senior was suitable.

On the premise that the senior is in that position because of his integral commitment to the business, his greater understanding of it and his greater scope of responsibility, he is naturally entitled to take those critical decisions... regardless of whether he is right or wrong. A mature subordinate must understand this and accept his senior’s decision in good faith. Of course there will be instances when, in retrospect, the sub-ordinate’s viewpoint turned out to be correct and the senior’s viewpoint incorrect; but then... such is business.

If you are that subordinate whose viewpoint differed with your senior’s, regardless of whether it turned out to be right or wrong, do continue your free thinking. Taking ghost decisions and studying their outcome over time will help you improve your understanding of business and also help you grow as a professional.

Remember, the only right way to resolve conflict, is for employees to ask themselves, “What is it that will serve our organisation’s best interest?”

An employee’s birth purpose

What is an employee’s birth purpose in an organisation?

An employee, as we all know, is a crucial resource in executing the promoter’s vision. Whether an Administrator or a CEO, every employee comes into existence in an organisation to serve its vision in some way. The more an employee understands this vision, through his own initiative as well as the direction of others, and the more he is motivated to achieve this vision, the more likely he is to fulfil his existence in the company.

An employee can best fulfil his birth purpose in a company by focusing his full intent and ability towards serving that vision. When he exploits business opportunities and channelizes business resources to achieve its goals, he becomes more valuable to his employer. It then becomes likely that promotions and increments will follow.

Some employees just clock in hours to get paid, believing that their sheer years of existence in the company are a mark of their loyalty. Others passionately enthuse themselves and the people around to serve the business better.

There will always be all kinds of people in every organisation and you may not always be in a position to decide who comes in, who stays or who goes. But as a professional who knows why he exists in an organisation, it is certainly within your power to choose – who you are, what you stand for and how you can make a difference!