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The New Small and Why I Can Never Go Back to Big

I am slowly reading The New Small by Phil Simon.  The reason it is slow going is that every page has something that stops me in my tracks and inspires me to scribble down notes.  If nothing else, I am so very grateful to Phil for inspiring my writing.

His introduction addresses the question How and Where Can We Find Meaningful Work?  He states that The New Small understand that work can be fulfilling and should involve the following 12 things:

  • Knowing the names of your colleagues – even if you’ve never met them in person
  • Taking care of your customers
  • Making a true difference at work
  • Working smarter, not harder
  • Constantly learning on the job
  • Solving different problems
  • Becoming indispensable
  • Gaining valuable skills and learning new tools
  • Not knowing what to expect each day
  • Being treated with respect – and doing the same to others
  • Feeling free to disagree with your boss
  • Being part of something great

I am going to use this list as an anchor post to many other blog articles.  It is rich and multi-layered, yet so simple at the same time.

I do not view big companies as evil.  In fact, I am exceedingly thankful for my time at big companies.  However, I know, at least for myself that were I ever to go back to work for a company, it would be private versus publicly traded.  Yet, I cannot even imagine going to work for a company, when there is so much upside to being self-employed.

I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this list and more importantly looking forward to your comments on these ideas.

9 Responses to The New Small and Why I Can Never Go Back to Big

  1. Phil Simon says:


    It’s posts like these that make me want to keep writing. I’m glad that you get it. We’re not alone.



    • Dawn says:

      Phil, Congratulations on your book! I love it. It is going to be my standard gift to customers and prospects. It’s not just a book…it’s a mindset. Dawn

  2. Liz Hersey says:

    Dawn, as a team member of one of “The New Small” I can personally attest to validity of the 12 points above – and thank my lucky stars for the people I work with and the environment we have built! For my part, while working for in the Fortune 500 space gave me incredible experience and opportunities to grow professionally, it is in the entreprenuerial arena in which I have experienced the most job satisfaction.

  3. Phil Simon says:

    That might just have to go up on my site.

  4. […] – we were like converts who had recently ‘got’ religion.  Phil has wonderfully described a new mindset for business owners and how they’ve leveraged emerging technology to propel their businesses.  […]

  5. Right with you, Dawn. I “grew up” in one of the then-Big 6 consulting & accounting firms and learned a ton in the process. Looking back at it, my best experiences there were when I was about to create “a small” within the larger organization. We built some pretty powerful teams and did some pretty amazing things.

    What strikes me most about the list that you quote here from Phil’s book is the preponderance of items related to people, connection, and learning. What’s not on the list? Any reference to the actual content of the job itself. That means to me that one can find meaning in work, no matter what that work is.

    Hmmm… that’ll keep me pondering all day now. Thank you!

    • Dawn says:

      Good observation – finding meaning in work. The truly talented and bright will plumb every option available to them. A good leader/manager, I think, would want to facilitate that drive for purpose (which it sounds like you were doing when creating “a small” within the big). When leaders/managers don’t do that, the options will become finite and possibly exhausted for the talented and bright and they will move on. I saw a statistic that 84% of the workforce wants to find a new job. You never know about statistics – but I wonder if that bodes a sea change of some sort. The New Small philosophy (along with enabling technology) will allow the most talented of that 84% to do something different if they want to…

  6. […] Westerberg’s recent post on The New Small resonates with me on two levels. First, it’s nice to know that the book is already having the […]

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