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Chris Green MA
Mental Health Counselor Associate
Everett, Washington
Extraordinarily helpful
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An Opportunity To Shift From a Mechanical To An Organic Business Structure

Turbulent economic times present an opportunity for entrepreneurs to redefine and rebuild our economy by forming a giant cooperative network and supporting each other with referrals and testimony to larger businesses restructuring to function in a changing economy.
Written May 31, 2009, read 4496 times since then.
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Traditionally business has been structured in a mechanical style. There's a boss, managers, supervisors and employees. The formal hierarical structure starts with the boss who uses discretion in choosing what information to share with management. The management decides the same thing for supervisors, and supervisors do the same thing for employees. The mechanical structure assumes that all of the best ideas come from the top. Since this isn't always the case, some individuals gain informal power within the structure. They might not have the title, but they have the influence.

Too much power and not enough discretion within a mechanical structure is part of the process that has led us to the current recession we all find ourselves, and our businesses in. This presents us with the opportunity to explore new options. One option is to consider a more organic business structure. Within an organic structure, a business is free flowing in the way it shares information and in its balance of power. Each member of the business, regardless of his or her job or title, has input. In a larger company, employees can be split into smaller committees to create a more effective setting for brainstorming. In this scenario, the boss is a coach, guiding the rest of the team, and taking guidance as well. Even with an organic structure there may be certain sensitive information that is kept confidential. However, a lot more is shared with all employees and employees share a lot more in return. Open communication can resolve conflicts, encourage cooperation and reduce gossip. All of which will lead to a more united and productive workplace, in essence, creating a cooperative network within a large organization. The larger the organization, the more challenging this process might be.

For an entrepreneur, the cooperative network is created independently, which allows for much more creativity in forming this network. Unlike larger businesses that usually team up within their corporate structure to unite against their competition, uniting with your competition is an effective strategy that an entrepreneur can choose. No one individual can provide all of the service to all of the clients and/or customers seeking that service. For that reason, we all need other professionals providing similar service to refer clients and/or customers to. That's why I was happy to see Nancy LaMont meet with fellow organizers in her area to be supportive of one another's efforts. There's strength in numbers. By developing a supportive network that utilizes each others services, provides mutual referrals, and gets together to brainstorm and encourage each other, we entrepreneurs can create a powerful network that many larger companies would be much more challenged to create within their existing corporate structure, and would likely have to hire entrepreneurs outside of their corporation to help them.

I have found Biznik to be a valuable tool for networking and brainstorming both online and offline. Online, I've read articles by A. Michelle Blakely, who's article helped me automate my online business so I can focus more on building those ever important business relationships within my network of referring professionals and deliver my service to my clients more efficiently; and John Erdman, who has great practical advice on how to improve the quality of the interactions that build those relationships. Offline, I met Gary Tessler who is helping me analyze my business plan, and Nancy Lamont who is helping me with my networking efforts in the North end.

Big businesses, choosing to transition from a mechanical to an organic structure, need entrepreneurs both as their customer base and as their partners in transition. As we entrepreneurs network together, we can individually and collectively offer our services to larger corporations during this time of change and potential transition. A transition from a mechanical to an organic business structure starts with us. By analyzing our own businesses we can build success within our networks, spread that success through our networking, and extend our services and the services of those in our networks to big businesses. Larger companies usually have deeper cash reserves to compensate our referrals. So it's a win-win situation.

There are a lot of well-informed, educated and talented individuals within the Biznik community. By utilizing each other's services, providing testimony and spreading the word, we can have a positive impact on the economy. I am more than willing to do my part and I'm very excited about what is already being created within the Biznik community...one very large, supportive network!

Learn more about the author, Chris Green MA.

Comment on this article

  • Professional Organizer 
Everett, Washington 
Jessie Wolfrum
    Posted by Jessie Wolfrum, Everett, Washington | Jun 03, 2009

    Chris~

    I couldn't agree more about our potential to help large companies! As entrepreneurs, we have fresh perspective and the opportunity to offer our clients a huge network of individuals to help them out of their economic rut and back into successful operation!

    ~Jessie Wolfrum, LMP

  • Mental Health Counselor Associate 
Everett, Washington 
Chris Green MA
    Posted by Chris Green MA, Everett, Washington | Jun 03, 2009

    Thanks for the feedback Jessie! Enthusiasm is another "rut breaker." Your encouragemnt has helped me to take a VERY enthusiastic step in the right direction...look out big business, here I come! ...With a giant referral network to plug them in to!

  • Office Consultant & Organizing Coach 
Marysville, Washington 
Nancy LaMont
    Posted by Nancy LaMont, Marysville, Washington | Jun 07, 2009

    Well said Chris and I fully agree with you. In order to rebuild our economy we must begin building relationships and developing trust within our networking and business communities.

    Uniting with others, even the competition, is better than fearing or ignoring them. Who better to learn from and receive support from than someone who is familiar with what we do.

    Think about what that says to those around us, to our clients, and to each other.

    ~Nancy

  • Mental Health Counselor Associate 
Everett, Washington 
Chris Green MA
    Posted by Chris Green MA, Everett, Washington | Jun 08, 2009

    I'm glad we concur on the idea of cooperative competition. Thanks for your supportive comments. I'm glad you're in my network and I look forward to sharing in your success!

  • Motivational Speaker and Author 
Bothell, Washington 
John C Erdman
    Posted by John C Erdman, Bothell, Washington | Jun 08, 2009

    Great article Chris! I have been a supporter of what I call strategic alliances for years. It may not be with your direct completion but those closely aligned that offer similar services or products. As you said, we cannot do everything so a great strategic alliance pays off for both people. In large companies the most important resource is the human resource and it can only function effectively when it has enough information.

    I hope both big and small companies see, read and implement your ideas.

    Enthusiastically, John

  • Mental Health Counselor Associate 
Everett, Washington 
Chris Green MA
    Posted by Chris Green MA, Everett, Washington | Jun 08, 2009

    Wow, That's quite a complement coming from you, John. Judging from your articles, comments and reputation, (I've gotten very positive feedback from those that know you and have employed your services.) You seem like a great person to be in association with. I'm glad you're in my network and I look forward to developing a strategic alliance!

  • Certified Residential Specialist - Realtor 
Renton, Washington 
Nancy Hill
    Posted by Nancy Hill, Renton, Washington | Jun 10, 2009

    Ahhh....hand to hand business. I have handed business to my network time and again. It creates the best working relationships and partnerships. The marketing costs 0 and the result is priceless.

    I rely on my network to feed me business and they rely on me.

    Great article - thank you for reminding me of the importance of "relationship".

  • Ghost Writer/Blogger 
Los Angeles, California 
Terra  Paley
    Posted by Terra Paley, Los Angeles, California | Jun 11, 2009

    Chris, I echo all the above compliments. You nailed this one and you are so right.

    My title the last few years I worked for corporations was VP, Partnership Development. I credit those companies with the vision to reach out and collaborate.

    Your article is right on. Relationship is the cornerstone of great business.

    Best, Terra

    Best, Terra

  • Business/Educator 
Chicago, Illinois 
Dr. James A. Lee
    Posted by Dr. James A. Lee, Chicago, Illinois | Jun 11, 2009

    Excellent article Chris,

    The new model for organizations is dramatically evolving. Sharing and developing information is the new frontier. To my understanding IBM went through major changes ten years ago and now repositioned for the future. We need new structures that adapt rapidly to change. Great work. I look forward to reading more of your fine work on this matter.

  • Mental Health Counselor Associate 
Everett, Washington 
Chris Green MA
    Posted by Chris Green MA, Everett, Washington | Jun 11, 2009

    Thank you Nancy, Terra, and Dr. Lee, I appreciate the positive feedback! Restructuring can be just as scary as stepping out on your own. In either case, one must let go of what is safe and familiar, and step into the unknown. Nothing is more reassuring than a supportive network that encourages you every step of the way. I look forward to sharing in all three of your successes along the way...as we all move forward together!

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