Being a 21st Century Organization
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 1980s, 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 Companys
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
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
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 dont 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
terms and conditions