What Business Are You Really In? As Applied to Employees.

What Business Are You Really In? As Applied to Employees.

Peter Drucker.

Everyone knows about the management legend who transformed American businesses.

One of the most important question from Drucker was – what business are we really in? The most famous example is that of McDonalds. He suggested that McDonalds’ primary business is NOT food. It is real estate. The explanation is that they open restaurant near the high way exit. It is effortless to reach McDonalds as you slow down the exit.

Hence the question. What business are you really in?

There are highly paid management consultancies doing the research about the businesses and presenting it to organization leaders.

But what about employees? Did you ever think about what does this mean to you as employee?

I have seen that those who work for automotive majors like Bosch, Continental, Valeo etc. keep circling within these. Likewise, those in avionics move within avionics companies. Likewise ISVs, industrial automation folks etc. It is good in many ways. Be in same industry. No direction change in career and hence comfortable.

Here are the problems

  • Most employees confine themselves to the main industry vertical they are in
  • Same set of people keep moving within this. You keep meeting the same people. Many times, it stinks. The bad blood and baggage is never shed.
  • If the industry itself is not doing well, you lose out.
  • When other industries disrupt, again lose out.
  • You have skills to move to better industries. But you do not know how to map your skills to those industries. Same skill has different jargon there.

How exactly you can expand into other industries? First, think as an individual professional. List down the skills. Treat each skill as industry by itself.

Let us into real examples.

  • You are a tester in industrial automation. Could you focus on security testing? Could you attend security testing conferences and be part of those network? You would be amazed to see the number of new people you meet, from say – FinTech.
  • Let’s say you have done UI reviews many times within your industry and you like it. Could you think of UI design career across industries and back it up with certifications? You might fit well into anything that has UI.
  • You are a designer of Zigbee based product in smart campuses. Could you generalize yourself in wireless networks specialist and expand in that direction?

You still could continue in same industry vertical, but being able to recognize other dimensions gives you a new identity. Just being aware of the possibilities helps.

When I run startup, it gets even more clearer. I was in industries like building controls, industrial controls, safety, security and automotive etc. As I enter into Edutech, I thought it is totally disconnected and fresh start. I am amazed how much it is connected back to what I did all these years. The technologies being pursued – cloud, AI, AR/VR .. All fit in.

30 years back, the industries were more clearly separate. Now with tech insertion into every industry, it is lot different. Too many industries are criss-crossing with one another.

This springs up many interesting options for the employees. They do not need to confine themselves to the same narrow options & hence people.

Here is the take-away:

  • There are some dimensions of your career or job.
  • You could identify and consciously nurture those threads.
  • If you do that, you will be able to shape your destiny much better than many others.
  • Of course, lot more peace and happiness.


Career path is like Bangalore traffic like I mentioned here. Do not be limited by the ready-made definitions.

And, one day you will thank me if you followed this.

Leave a note about – which industries do you really fit in?

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6 years ago

This article is a tonic for those who are bored being in the same industry.

Unknowingly I did the same thing! I did my B.Sc Fashion Designing, became teaching professional where I learnt teaching skills & acquired in depth knowledge, quit, chose my dream profession blogging where I am applying what I learnt as lecturer. And, I am already seeing my future steps through this platform 🙂