Business owner thinking in employees


Entrepreneurial and business-owner thinking in employees is becoming more important as the next normal of the employee-employer relationship emerges from the shadows of these COVID-19 lockdowns. Simply doing the job and BAU mindsets will be increasingly rejected by the context in much the same way the immune response of a host system rejects parasites and viruses.

What do we mean by business owner thinking

Thinking like a business owner here means having a clear value proposition based on you knowing your customers, knowing their needs and how your offering meets those needs, knowing your operations (what you need to do to create and deliver the solutions) and knowing the cost (time, effort, money and any other resources) and making it all work again, again and again, even as customer needs evolve and operating conditions change.

Business owner thinking is customer-focused thinking regardless of whether the customer is external (the organisation’s customers) or internal (OTHER functions, departments or roles requiring YOUR function’s, department’s or role’s solutions to their problems)

Where does this leave us?

So the question is, how do we take something we’ve been talking about for a while, much like digital transformation, and use this ongoing inflexion point as an opportunity to make it happen?


We are faced with two challenges:

  1. Developing entrepreneurial mindsets in fresh graduates looking for employment

  2. Developing entrepreneurial mindsets in employees with years of experience

Clearly, for employees with experience, the difficulty increases with both years of experience and career level, the more the years and the higher up the corporate ladder, the harder it is to shift perspective, especially if that shift hasn’t already happened or been initiated by life experiences somehow.


Ultimately, each individual has to ask themselves if this is for them knowing that the context of employment does present this unique opportunity. The opportunity to develop capabilities that significantly increase the value you offer in the now while breaking down walls to reveal new options for your future.

A business view of traditional roles

We could start by rethinking how we develop employees, treat them as business owners; offer them development support aimed at helping them become more business-minded, matching the type and level of business leadership training to their role type and career level:

  1. Individual contributor: sole proprietor

  2. Team manager and department head: small business owner

  3. Function head: medium corporate CEO

  4. Unit head and above: large corporate CEO

I plan to write more about this in the coming weeks.

© 2020 by DTB Services. 

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