Being a 21st Century Organization

October, 1996

by Gail Taylor 

Last July MG Taylor Corporation co-sponsored an Invitational DesignShop with the Wharton Center for Advanced Studies in Management. The subject was "Designing the 21st Century Enterprise". This was not the first time that we had thought about 21st Century Enterprises; in fact, Matt and I have more than a combined 45 year history of thinking about this issue. When we began working together in 1976, very few people thought about the future of organizations and enterprises at all -- let alone what they would be like in the 21st Century. Most assumed more of the "same old same old". Even today -- as close as it is -- insight into the next century is rare.

In 1980, we established MG Taylor Corporation to systematically design a new way of working through the integration of new environments, tools, and processes. At the outset, we chose not to actively market our work, but to rely on satisfied clients to spread the word. Although we did not formally develop the Business of Enterprise model until the late 1980’s, we have been working this way since our inception.

In this manner, one client to another, one network member to another, we emerged strong by design and intention. We were not driven to compromise our designs with sales quotas or incentives. Today -- together -- as a cluster of corporations, Enterprises of One (or few), and customers -- we are forming a viable, sustainable 21st enterprise.

The Wharton DesignShop introduced our ideas to Ernst & Young LLP. Soon after, they contracted with us for two DesignShops to help them think about work in the 21st Century. The Air Force, NASA, and F-15 have proceeded to work our ideas into the fabric of their enterprises. Our work is now unfolding at a very accelerated rate. Nodes on our Business of Enterprise are developing fast.

Think of the Center of the Business of Enterprise Model. In a viable Enterprise we would each play in all three spheres at different times and for different reasons ... a constant flow of informational exchange and increasing wealth for the whole. As a small, ever changing team, MGT actively manages our network of investors, customers and producers. And, each of us would have other Enterprise Webs in which we engage.

This model linked to our belief in and support for individuals who are making a conscious journey across the border of one paradigm to another are the foundation elements of our Value Web™. We call these individuals Transition Managers. Likewise, we believe very strongly in the Company of One idea. It is a powerful idea for those who will learn to master it. It embodies the exemplar knowledge worker as someone who goes where learning is rich; work is challenging; rewards are many and varied. (Transition Managers and Company’s of One live inside and outside of Corporations. Structure does not define them; intent and philosophy does.)

Today, we are at an evolutionary point in our Enterprise. Together we have accomplished extraordinary growth over the last eight months. We have been told by customers and producers alike that we have made their life better, richer, wiser, more spirited in untold ways. This is goodness -- a demonstrated level of fitness.

MG Taylor Corporation will always be small in number of employees. This is NOT because we are avoiding HR issues, but because we choose it to be; we believe it is what will keep us healthy and sustainable short and long term. Linked with fast moving, flexible Companies of One, we can be unstoppable in the realization of our Mission. Small in number of core team does not mean small as a wealth generator. We intend to be very profitable for ourselves, customers, investors and producers that make up the Enterprise. We have ambitious goals, and an expensive overhead (environment and technology) to nourish and constantly re-invent. This investment is passed on directly to producers, customers and investors. All members of our core team, including our CEO, are expected to earn their salary by “doing the work.” We have a very small overhead in relation to our value. This means we can offer more value to our customers for less.

Over the last few weeks we have been blessed with having a lull in our growth .. a time to reflect; put ideas down on paper and web; grow from lessons learned ... and prepare for another growth cycle.

Now, consciously we must create our value web TOGETHER so that as we evolve and change over time, we can each, whether investors, customers, or producers, generate individual and collective wealth from our efforts together.

This demands more focus, more articulation of individual and group goals, more discipline, more trust and risk, more entrepreneurial spirit from each of us. Over the next several weeks, MGT Sponsors will be getting in touch with each of you (By the way, EVERYONE has a sponsor, even the most senior of us!) and reviewing your ideas, and business goals with you.

We hope that each Company of One will develop their own business goals. While we want to actively support this development, it is unrealistic to depend on MG Taylor -- or to consider yourselves employed by us. While we can work together throughout the year in supporting financial goals, we will not guarantee you work or certain levels of income. The network is now well over 50 people each with different talents and skills; different financial needs; different life-cycle needs. It takes tremendous cooperation to make this work for all. Now add that each of you have other income generators, other skill development and learning needs and opportunities. The complexity grows!

While we strive to keep our levels of fee simple - novice, apprentice, journeyperson, speaker -- we have different rates for different work. In order to grow new businesses; adapt to customer needs and life-cycles; serve different markets our fee structures will be eclectic. Some opportunities will be offered to you as learning opportunities; others as investment opportunities; still others will be to employ your unique talents and genius in DesignShops or product development. You will need to put your entire portfolio of wants, needs and opportunities together and define for yourself the work you want to do with the MG Taylor Enterprise.

We are excited as we journey forth and look forward to growing our value web with you. We hope you are too! When we each stand back at the end of the year and think about how well we have done together, I want each of to believe that WE did good, short and long term! To me there is no win/lose scenario possible; lose/lose is a possibility if we don’t work together and understand the business of the enterprise; win/win is of course our much preferred goal.

copyright 1996, MG Taylor Corporation and Gail Taylor. All rights reserved
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