An Enterprise of One: An Overview for New MG Taylor Network
September 30, 1996
Updated: March 17, 1997; May 22, 2000
- We Live in a Time of Transition
- An Enterprise of One
- Special Situations You May Find Yourself In
- Some More Compelling Reasons for Being an Enterprise
- The Fine Print
Welcome again to the MG Taylor Corporation ValueWeb network!. By
now you've worked a DesignShop® event or two and maybe have been involved
in a special project. Or perhaps you've been employed by MG Taylor or
a knOwhere store on a trial basis. You may even have a sponsor
and talked with him or her several times, and have expressed an interest
and aptitude for undertaking more work with MG Taylor. This document will
help you understand the next steps and give you some guidelines for conducting
business with MG Taylor in the future.
First a short preface. One of MG Taylor's tenets over the past 20 years
has been the idea of the collision with the future. In this model, the
rapid rate of change in the environment crosses
and eclipses the rate at which traditional organizations can respond to
change (see Stages of an Enterprise model). Once eclipsed,
the traditional organization struggles, and unless it can turn around,
collapses. To avoid collapse, these organizations must discover new options
and new ways of work: philosophical, cultural, policy level and strategic.
Navigation Centers and Management Centers are environments to support
this discovery; DesignShop events are processes that facilitate the discovery;
KnOwhere stores are vehicles to rapidly extend the capabilities of Management
Center environments and DesignShop processes into the marketplace. The
people who play the key roles in the discoverylinking the old organization
to the new one in the evolutionary process are called Transition
Managers. As a Knowledge Worker in the MG Taylor network, your primary
mission is to learn to play the role of a Transition Manager.
New strategies and philosophies for handling the rate of change have
been emerging at an increased pace over the past couple of decades. One
collection of strategies can be labeled The End of the Job,
to borrow the title of a series of articles run in Fortune magazine last
year. Here's a portion of the collection:
- Employment is more volatile. The guarantee of lifetime
employment that was the hallmark of the post World War II era is at
an end. The volatility of markets and industries dictates a steady rate
of layoffs and hirings as companies strive to keep their skill base
- Adaptability. Some organizations are paring down to a critical
core and outsourcing all else. This has created a host of small office
and home office consulting groups, and draws as well upon the capabilities
of larger, specialized firms.
- Enterprises are rapidly changing size to adapt. Some enterprises
are becoming smaller while others are expanding. Some are organizing
themselves around project-oriented network models while others are consolidating
and crystallizing their structures.
- People have the option of working remotely. Technology is making
it possible to perform a number of tasks from remote locations instead
of from centralized offices. People can now work and have access to
tremendous amounts of information on the road or from home or other
- Continued investment in technology is requisite for competitiveness.
Many analysts and MIS directors have complained that there is no
way to quantify technology's return on investment and therefore that
the decade of spending on systems and upgrades has been useless. This
is nonsense. Ask any company that has invested in technology to turn
off their workstations and work for one month with typewriters and carbon
paper instead. Of course technology can be under and mis-employed like
any other resource. And it's not necessary to live on the bleeding
edge. But to be ignorant of technology, or to devote limited time
and thought to how it can improve operations is a mistake.
- People want off of the treadmill. Many people are working on
right-sizing their lives; reducing debt and unnecessary
consumption. They're discovering how to get as much or more out of life
without relying on a plethora of things.
- People wish to reintegrate their lives. There's a desire to
unite work and home life more closely but not many people have unlocked
the secret yet. But some recent experiments in city and neighborhood
planning are allowing people to recreate true communities where work,
family, play, and education are more closely tied together.
This set of changes is forcing all of us to rethink our work and our
Most of the people in our network are independent, that is, they are
in business for themselves or they are employed by another firm and do
work for MG Taylor on the side. These individuals get paid on a fee basis
by the week, day or hour. The rest of the people in our network are employees
of either MG Taylor, a knOwhere store or Athenaeum International. Regardless
of their arrangements, everyone in the network should think comprehensively
about their life and their life's work. Each of us should take a whole
systems approach to a lifetime of engagement in learning, employing what
is learned, experiencing measures of failure and success from this employment,
and folding this experience back into learning. In this way, we're subscribing
to the philosophy of being an Enterprise of One.
Truly each of us comprises an enterprise of one. Even if a person works
for the same firm for 30 years or more, what about the 20 years of life
before that and the 30 years or more following? And what of integrating
life's work instead of compartmentalizing it? Shall a person be content
with segregating vocation, avocation, relaxation, family into tidy boxes
that fragment his experience? The integration of all these elements severely
challenges our age. Is such fragmentation merely a phenomenon of our times
that we must learn to endure? Should we seek a retrograde solution from
times past? Or is it possible to design solutions that are more requisite
with the rate of change? MG Taylor does not claim a franchise on solutions
but we are dedicated to the pursuit and demonstration of them.
What does it mean to be an Enterprise of One in our network? On the simplest
level, if you're working for MG Taylor or a KnOwhere store or Athenaeum
International on a fee basis, you're an independent contractor. You have
established your own separate business, maintained records for this business,
paid self-employment taxes, deducted expenses, and so on. In general,
you provide your own tools to do the work, and while you work closely
with a team on each project or event, you work largely unsupervised. MG
Taylor Corporation or one of the KnOwhere stores are your clients.
Or you may work with other Knowledge Workers in a small boutique corporation,
one of whose main objectives is to provide Knowledge Worker expertise
to the MG Taylor network.
If you're an employee of MG Taylor or of a KnOwhere store or of Athenaeum
International, the work you do for MG Taylor falls under your employment
contract. But you're still an enterprise of one in that you still have
your whole life to manage! And someday you may go independent. Maybe not
soonbuilding an enterprise is something we all need to grow into.
But the concept of an enterprise of one is especially true for independent
contractors who should not rely on MG Taylor as their sole source of income.
For its own health, no business should rely too heavily on a very limited
portfolio of clients.
If you're just beginning your work with MG Taylor, you may still have
a full time job with another company. MG Taylor does not recommend that
you terminate your position with that company unless you are prepared
to embark on your own enterprise. Until that time, you may use vacation
time or perhaps leave without pay to participate in further events. Some
employers, once they learn of the mission and purpose of MG Taylor are
interested in having some of their employees participate as crew for DesignShops
and bring that skill and knowledge back to the company.
If you choose to make the leap and become an Enterprise of One, you should
develop a business plan. MG Taylor can help you do this if you like. Your
business plan should also be incorporated into a plan that takes a whole
systems look at your life.
Like all companies, MG Taylor experiences cycles of demand for its work.
Some of this is seasonal: summertime is usually a slow period for our
type of business, for example. Some of it is also related to the stages
that every enterprise goes through. As we evolve our products and services
we enter and pass through the Entrepreneurial Button many times. Each
passage is accompanied by the trauma of looping and the threat of overshoot
and collapse. Periods of stability are punctuated by periods of instability.
This situation is no different than for any other company.
In addition to DesignShops, you may be called upon to support workshops,
work at a knOwhere store, or on special projects that arise from time
to time. Most of these activities are from 6 to 8 days in duration although
special projects can stretch out much longer. The process of selection
is usually the same. Process Facilitators select crew for DesignShops
and workshops; General Managers select crew for work at knOwhere stores;
and Project Managers select crew for special projects.
There are four skill and development levels:
- Explorer. These are new Knowledge Workers who are
working their first event.
- Apprentice. These are Knowledge Workers who have
worked their first event and are in the process of learning all of the
different roles involved in crewing a DesignShop or working the floor
- Journeyman. Once a Knowledge Worker has a working
knowledge of all of the roles and can fill them, he or she becomes a
Journeyman. In some cases, a Journeyman may not have a working knowledge
of all of the roles but may be an expert in a selected role instead.
Journeymen also have a working knowledge and understanding of implementing
the Seven Domains for a client, and of the Modeling Language. Process
Facilitators are Journeymen.
- Speaker. Speakers are Knowledge Workers who can facilitate
a transition management relationship with a client over time using MG
In a way, the network operates as a small market economy. It is incumbent
upon each member to improve and innovate, develop a concentrated expertise
and branch out into different skills.
Tooling and Technology
When you do your first several events with MG Taylor you may not own a
computer. Equipment is rented for most DesignShops. But if you want to
look at becoming a long term contractor with MG Taylor, you'll need to
purchase and use your own tools.
You may choose from any platform you wish. Our network includes practitioners
and advocates of both Macintosh and Windows. Various facilities have different
strengths and support capacities, so check on the set-up before arrival.
MG Taylor currently does not use contracts with its Knowledge Workers.
Even though we are not using contracts yet, we expect network members
to behave ethically with respect to our clients. Frequently network members
are offered permanent positions or consulting work with clients. We would
like to be apprised of such situations when they occur. A member of our
network should not use the opportunities afforded them to take work from
a client at the expense of MG Taylor. If MG Taylor and a client sever
a relationship, then a Knowledge Worker is free to pursue work with the
Knowledge Workers may not represent MG Taylor or use the DesignShop process
or the Modeling Language with a client on their own unless they are licensed
by MG Taylor to do so.
The System & Method designed and developed by MG Taylor is Patent
Pending. In addtion, many terms surrounding Management Centers, DesignShops,
and KnOwhere stores are trademarked. The models in the Modeling Language
are all copyrighted. You may not reproduce them nor distribute them without
If you've participated in one or several events by now you're aware of
our rules concerning fiduciary
responsibility. Everything that you hear during an event is confidential
and belongs to the client. You may not pass this information on to others
without the express consent of the client. As a crew member you will likely
receive a documentation from each event for your own library. These documentations
should be treated confidentially as well.
You should also be aware when supporting public companies that are traded
on one of the public exchanges, that certain information you may obtain
during a session could be defined as insider information, and trades you
may make in the client's stock could be viewed as violating insider trading
copyright © 1996, MG Taylor Corporation.
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