Ever wonder the look behind the scenes on how top executives inspire their colleagues and co-workers to regard the organization with an Entrepreneurial Mindset ®️?
These are the bane of corporate life:
- Lackluster productivity.
Savvy executives know they have to light a fire under employees to fight such enemies of success.
Savvy executives know they have to light a fire under
employees to fight such enemies of success.
But how about another tactic:
- Light a fire in your people, and stop thinking of them solely as employees.
Instead, teach them to adopt the outlook, manner, and drive of entrepreneurs.
Give them ownership of their jobs, and make them accountable for results.
Consider Celine’s story.
She was in charge of the records department in a large organization—doing what was generally considered a dead-end job.
Morale for the people in her division was horrible: absenteeism was rampant, and the employees who did come to work usually arrived late.
Yet Celine remade her position and completely revitalized her co-workers by adopting an effective and infectious Entrepreneurial Mindset ®️ .
She decided to take responsibility for the situation and try to turn it around herself.
And she created contests among employees to get through the stacks of filing and gave prizes to the quickest workers.
She made it fun!
And she did it with initiative and imagination at no cost to her employer.
As a result, attendance dramatically improved and morale soared.
She was rewarded with a promotion, but her greatest satisfaction came from taking what everyone else considered a hopeless situation and making a profound and lasting difference.
To be at their best, people need to feel a
sense of purpose and mission in their work.
They must invest themselves in every task or project.
No matter what kind of organization—from small companies to home-based businesses to large corporations—employees can become entrepreneurial-style “owners”:
- responsible for more than just keeping a job, they’re emotionally and intellectually vested in making every minute count toward achieving the goals of the organization and their own complementary career aspirations.
With an Entrepreneurial Mindset ®, or “E-Mindset” for short, they are driven more by results than routine.
Both the company and the individual reap immediate rewards in profit, performance, and sense of purpose when people are encouraged and
taught to use their ingenuity, invest themselves in their work, and expect exponential results for their effort.
To foster an E-Mindset in your corporate culture, you must first clarify the vision for the organization, including what you want to accomplish, the
strategic plan to get you there, the incremental and timed goals that must be met along the way, and the values that will guide your actions.
Once clear, this vision must be communicated to everyone in the organization, and each person must define how he or she will contribute to the overall realization of this vision through personal job performance.
Then comes the most crucial part:
Leaders must continue to communicate this vision—and must live it every day.
Every meeting, every speech, and presentation, every document must be congruent with this articulated vision.
The Individuals’ Goals Must Complement the Organization’s Vision:
The racecar driver Jeff Gordon gave us a good analogy for the cumulative impact of concerted, conscious teamwork:
he reports that for every second his pit crew works faster than the competition, it gives him 300 feet on his opponents.
Yet does the pit crew do it all for the glory of Jeff Gordon?
It’s more likely that they equate Gordon’s successes with their own professional excellence and take personal pride in every foot they gain for the driver.
Understanding that individuals do things for their own reasons (consciously or unconsciously, we all ask, What’s in it for me?), the organization must provide the opportunity for employees to define their own personal and career goals, and they must be given the information they need to see how these goals dovetail with and support the company vision.
An entrepreneur knows that everything invested in the achievement of the business goals is mixed with and moving toward the fulfillment of personal goals.
The larger the overlap between personal and organizational goals, the more passionate and committed the individual—the more complete the E-Mindset.
People must see that their involvement allows them to accomplish
their own goals for personal and professional growth.
This can be communicated through initial training sessions with new hires, as well as through periodic reviews where the person has the responsibility to identify personal aspirations and find the overlap between these and organizational goals.
It’s a Business Value Only if the Company Puts Its Money, Time, and Enthusiasm Behind It:
If time and money are not consistently invested toward what you say is important, people will realize that you pay no more than lip service to your so-called values.
When working with one group of organizational leaders to define their values, one of the more seductive ideas was to incorporate the value of “risk taking” into the corporate culture.
It sounded good—it even sounded entrepreneurial—but when a company adopts a value and publicizes it, it had better be prepared to stand behind it 100 percent.
Holding risk as a value would mean that if someone took a chance and lost company money, leaders in the organization would have to reward this individual anyway:
- they would have to publicly applaud the action and focus on what was learned as a result of such boldness.
People would be looking to see what the corporate behavior said beyond the words chosen to represent community values.
The moment leadership chose not to reward a “failure” in the name of risk would undermine belief in this as a true value.
After fully understanding the ramifications of formally embracing risk, this leadership team decided it should not be adopted as a company value.
To fully install the Entrepreneurial Mindset ®️ in your corporate culture, there is one value that must be adopted, understood, and supported no matter what:
- Employees must have the latitude and ability to do whatever is necessary to satisfy the customer and find a solution.
Entrepreneurs understand that their number-one concern must be the clients they serve.
Going the extra mile and being creative is the norm for the E-Minded.
It must also be supported and rewarded within the organization.
That’s not my job.
We don’t do that.
No, I can’t.
Such phrases weigh the organization down every time they’re spoken.
Yet the caring, concern and efficiency of people who adopt the E-Mindset stays with clients and customers long after the business transaction has faded to a distant memory.
Some of the best examples of this come from my own experience with fine hotels, which seem to pride themselves on empowering entrepreneurial employees to do the best they possibly can for their guests.
Once, when staying in the Hotel Vancouver, I got up in the morning to discover that I had a French-cuffed shirt but hadn’t packed cuff links.
Calling down to the front desk, I was informed that none of the shops opened until later in the day.
Because I was supposed to deliver a speech early that morning, I called the concierge to see what she could do, and she assured me she would find a way to help me.
Moments later, she called me back and informed me that she had called a hotel manager, who was on his way from his home—on his day off—to loan me a pair of his own cuff links to wear.
The concierge and the off-duty manager understood that my dilemma was more than cuff links.
They perceived it to be just one piece in the larger vision of service at this hotel.
First and foremost, an organization can foster an E-Mindset by showing people how their responsibilities fit into the larger objectives and why it’s important for them to handle things in a certain manner.
You don’t need a new job. You need a new mindset.
When people who work for an organization are not aware of or don’t care about their impact on the overall organization, they naturally begin to “numb out” on the job and look elsewhere to find fulfillment or at least stimulation.
This can lead them to complacency or impel them to find a new job.
But just as the best companies don’t sit back and expect people to simply do their jobs, entrepreneurial employees don’t wait for the company to make their jobs interesting.
They hold themselves to higher standards.
And they arrive early in many cases and stay late if necessary.
They do whatever it takes to get the job done.
They’re really committed to something, and they feel like their work is meaningful.
This mindset is not yoked to the individual like a plow on an ox.
Instead, there is synergy between the culture of a corporation and the talents and predispositions of the people who work there.
And people—both leaders and the rest of the organization—can help to develop this mindset on their own by holding 10 principles sacred in their work lives:
- Make sure you are working for something/someone you are proud to be associated with. You have to have an unbending belief in the product or service you are selling, representing, helping to create, or otherwise supporting. You must find something you can be passionate about.
- Settle for nothing less than excellence in everything you do. If something crosses your desk, regardless of the shape it came to you in, improve it and send it out as if it were a million-dollar proposal and it had your name on it.
- Know and take ownership of the outcome. This can be a phone call you made, a memo you draft, a communication with a peer. Make sure you know your end objective and take responsibility.
- Apologize when something goes wrong.
- Be resourceful. Come up with and present possible solutions to a challenge, rather than just presenting what’s not working. You can ask the question “How can it be done?”
- Be flexible. If things don’t go as planned or if a project runs overtime, find a way to help your team get to the end result.
- Be creative. Look for ways to improve the process or additional areas of responsibility that you can help out with.
- Strive to improve one thing you are doing each day.
- Be proactive/growth-driven. If you see something that could create challenges, do something that may change the course of action. Always ask, “How can this be improved?”
- Exert enthusiasm in all that you do. Even if it’s a mundane task, create an atmosphere of excitement. If you see someone else who needs a boost, pay them a compliment, help them out or show your contagious enthusiasm.
Companies need visionary and inner-directed people who transcend rules and roles and, at a minimum, make decisions and operate from a high level of self-esteem and even self-actualization.
The people must find purpose in their work, keep profit and productivity in mind as they devise new and better ways of doing things, and pursue excellence in every endeavor.
These are the keys to the Entrepreneurial Mindset ®️.
They will unlock the potential of people working today, and open the doors of unlimited possibility for the organization in the future.
And the journey continues…
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