Are you running a democratic business in the MSP sector?

If you own your own business you’ll realise that there are a multitude of ways to manage your staff and run your company, but are they working for you? I’m trying to find out whether newer open, democratic business principles can be applied to an MSP service based business. If you run an MSP business and have implemented freedom based approached, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

For the last 15 years or so I’ve been involved in the IT MSP sector, providing IT services either as a consultant or, latterly, as the owner of a larger business. During that time I stuck to the standard management structure: Boss, Managers, Staff. Everything was delegated up and down the line. It was efficient and, to be honest, I never really gave it much thought. Looking back on it, however, it never felt fluid and at times it did feel like I was serving the business, and not the other way around.
Now that I’m older, and hopefully wiser, I’ve become really interested in whether modern management approaches and open, democratic, business models can be made to work in the service sector.

Absolutely nothing is wrong with the old approach. It works for a tonne of companies who are very successful. It’s often efficient and easy and, most of all, familiar. I would hazard a guess though at saying that most workers would prefer a different work environment. Each person tends to have a set core of responsibilities which, over time, is hard for them to move away from as that’s where their experience lies.

Worldblu are leaders in promoting a different management approach and business structure. They provide guidance and certification for businesses wanting to open up and become more democratic, freedom orientated models. The Worldblu Youtube channel has a tonne of talks with more information about this and certainly I’ve been spending some time going through them all. The information toward the latter half of the following video is certainly very interesting.


I’ve also been thinking about how to motivate staff. At the moment most of us motivate staff with money – paying bonuses for reaching targets, or ensuring SLAs are met. This is great if you are skint and don’t have any desire to have a home-life, or you really are part of a team that can work together to get things done, but wouldn’t it be better if staff wanted to go that extra mile for the sake of the business? Could putting a price on motivation actually be bad? Dan Pink, an author of several management and selling guides and an expert at motivation, sums up how I’ve felt in the past and shows that statistics back up the idea that motivating with money in our sector doesn’t always. help.


In essence Dan says that motivating people with money is good for jobs with precise linear workflows, such as packing screw in to a box, but they actually make things worse when it comes to motivating people in jobs which require a wider skillset and a greater  range of thinking.

I’m knee deep in thinking about all the ways to structure a business and what changes could be made and, if I’m honest I don’t even know whether a services based business can even work in such a way. Most of the examples and businesses using such approaches are creative companies or project based companies which don’t have to provide such reactive services.

If you are using such methods in your MSP business then get in touch, I’d love to hear your experiences.

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