“Pick yourself. Don’t wait for someone to pick you. The shift is that it doesn’t matter if you own a company. You can make an impact if you want to.” Seth Godin, from his book Linchpin

Hey, business owner, yeah you. Got a second? I just need to talk… just between us, doesn’t having employees suck? Babysitting a bunch of teenagers is was it feels like. They sit, staring at the clock, waiting for 5pm to come. Needing to take yet another personal day… for what? Annual raises and employee reviews, I could go on and on… what a pain in the ass. Ya see, that’s why I wanted to talk to you. I’m done. That’s right, done. I am going to let you in on a little secret. At a company meeting in the not to distant future, I am going to fire all my employees. Yep, I’m going to stand up and let them all go at the same time… going to rip the band-aid off with one pull. Goodbye, so long, go riddance.

You say I can’t have a business without them? You ask how will all the work get done? Great questions. After I fire all my employees, I’m going to hire any back who want to come to work with me as a stakeholder. Yes, I said stakeholder. You may say it is all semantics, but I say it isn’t. I have decided I want to only work with stakeholders from now on. What is a stakeholder you ask? Let me tell you:

First stakeholders are adults. They don’t need someone to babysit them and instruct them each step of their workday. They ask questions like “Why?” Most importantly, they don’t expect the company or other adults to take care of them.

Secondly they are owners. While they are not the same as stockholders, as they don’t physically own any of the company, they do at a minimum, own their work and the results it creates. They will own profit sharing, and may even go on to own stock or a piece of the company someday. They own their tasks, process and jobs, and they own how they work within the system.

Thirdly, stakeholders require leadership, not adult supervision. Stakeholders don’t need management. They need someone to give them a vision, the tools and training they need and then point them in the right direction.

There are many more characteristics of what a stakeholder is, but you get the picture, right? Did I come up with all this? No, I wish I was that smart. But it has been at my core as a business owner, and the culture we created has attracted mostly stakeholders to Fat Atom. Want to get excited about firing your employees and hiring stakeholders? Read, “Why Employees Are Always A Bad Idea” by Blakeman. If you let it, this book will change your business for the better.