Originally published on Entrepreneur Magazine on November 12, 2015.
Building a company with an entrepreneurial spirit amplifies innovation, creativity and results. It raises employee engagement and motivation by giving them more responsibility and recognition. You might have heard of this as intrapreneurs.
The entrepreneurial spirit is about mindset. It is about how your managers and front-line employees think to solve challenges. It is about continuous improvement and new solutions. The report, “Mid-market Perspectives: America’s Economic Engine — Why Entrepreneurs Matter” based on a survey of 652 senior executives at companies with annual revenues between $10 million and $1 billion, revealed that more than one third (35 percent) of executives who believe their companies have become more entrepreneurial since they joined have experienced better financial results than less entrepreneurial companies.
No matter what size company you have right now and what size you want to grow to, the principles of entrepreneurship can benefit the whole organization when you impart them into your culture. When I work with companies and their leaders on the entrepreneurial mindset, the capacity for growth changes faster than any other single aspect of our work.
Here are three key questions to help you and your company lead with an entrepreneurial mindset and transform the thinking of your managers and front-line employees:
1. Are you and your team willing to accept 100 percent responsibility for your success?
The realization that you and only you are responsible for what you create is an essential component of being an entrepreneur. There is no such thing as a guaranteed paycheck being an entrepreneur.
There is a common tendency to blame someone or something else for not getting what you want. However, once you truly understand that you are responsible and only you and your teams can change the current realities into a more desired state will progress begin to happen. In other words, only you can change your current outcomes — stop waiting for something else to help you.
2. Are you and your team willing to give up perfection and procrastination?
This is about the shift toward imperfect action. Don’t expect success every time, but do expect to learn from failures. Seeking the lessons of failure can serve your enterprise to try new strategies and do what has never been done. This is the foundation of innovation.
Everything is a test. When you truly believe that everything is a test and can be improved over time, then the best action you can take is to start immediately.
3. Who are you being to have the success you want?
This question cuts to the heart of their thinking, beliefs and values that will drive success or lack of success. The notion of “who are you being” is about the emotions and confidence you bring to the actions you are taking.
Being fearful of public speaking or testing a new strategy is a state of being that keeps you from some big opportunities. The flip side is about having the courage to do what has never been done and pushing beyond comfort zones. You have a choice to be fearful or be courageous. You always have a choice.
Understanding and embodying the spirit of an entrepreneur is about being aware of a variety of perspectives and staying open to new ways of thinking. It is a shift from “It’s not my fault,” to “I will find a way.” This one concept transforms appointment setting and discussing solutions with prospects. The entrepreneurial mindset changes how your front line employees serve your most valuable assets in your company — your customers and prospects.
Entrepreneurs learn that they are responsible for their success and use everything available to them to find a way. Companies that adopt this culture are growing and serving at a greater capacity. One example in today’s economy is Uber, who is exemplifying putting the entrepreneurial spirit as a basis of their culture. This has translated into massive growth into new markets and taking them from an unheard of company to a household name seemingly overnight.
When your managers and front-line employees make the change from finding an excuse to finding a way, your company will leap forward.
You can’t afford to not hire the best talent for your growing enterprise. The tides are shifting in what employees want, and just offering them more money is not the driving force of our economy. They want responsibility and the recognition of making a difference. Those are powerful desires for growing companies.
We’re living in a new era where competition and formulaic methods of doing business are washing away. The entrepreneurial spirit embodies the essence of a strengths based or solution based perspective. It is about cultivating brand new ways of doing things rather than doing things the way they have always been done. It represents the epitome of collaboration, cooperation and the freedom of expression for all.