No-one likes having a hangover. Especially one that leaves everybody feeling like they are dizzy with constant changes, and everyone has a foggy head because they are working so hard that their brains are completely fried doing what? The same old stuff that isn't getting anyone anywhere! And why? Because the old guy (or gal) at the top is stuck in another time and place - thinking that they have to rule with the stick, and only allow their 'top' advisers that agree with them to come up with solutions that are not relevant and not innovative. When the 'captain' feels that their main job is to hold their title on a pedestal and send orders to the plebs down below - expecting to reap an energetic, creative and motivated collective of people - when in fact - many of the 'tribe' are feeling like prisoners on the inside, though they may appear submissive on the outside. If you are an intelligent modern leader - I'm preaching to the converted here.
We all know that the old rules of business no longer apply. As the baby boomer generation of leaders move towards retirement it is vital to nurture new ways of thinking at work. The 'authoritarian' leadership of the past serves to only stifle creativity, disempower talented people, and cause conflict.
Invoking an entrepreneurial 'mindset' and spirit within any organisation is crucial in order to be relevant and commercially successful.
While employees can (mostly) rest assured that as long as they do their job - their salary will be paid into their account regularly - the entrepreneur must define his or her success by seeing that what they do results in a financial return. If they're not getting this return - they are an unpaid volunteer.
This high need for shelter and food causes the entrepreneur to go deep within themselves and outside of their comfort zone - searching for answers, for ideas, for knowledge - with a deep thirst to grow and grow quickly. They must put their attention and focus on achieving financial growth or they don't survive. Putting oneself at the razors edge of risk - where all onus is on oneself to make this baby fly - well - let's just say that it is not for the faint hearted.
Most seasoned and successful business people know that the level of emotional and mental stamina required to be successful is extraordinary. The roller coaster of trialling and testing new products, new marketing approaches, new sales processes, new systems, assessing business models - causes the entrepreneur to rise to another level of themselves. It causes them to own a level of responsibility that many don't want - which is why people opt for the job - or give up on their business dream, and spend the rest of their life in a job they hate - working in a culture they don't believe in.
The 'mindset' of being entrepreneurial is a learned skill, and while some of us are born with a burning desire to do this thing called business - we all need to develop new mindsets along the journey, we must learn to lead with energy, confidence and drive.
Many employees have this type of personality. Lets call them your 'eagles'.
You'll recognise these eagles - while they choose to share their talents within a job and enjoy their weekends not thinking about their work 24/7 - hoping to balance their work life with family commitments - they often will invest a huge amount of energy and passion into their work. They care.
These 'eagles' are often found in workplaces - naturally gifted with the ability to see ahead, to identify opportunities that others can't see, to have huge influence on stakeholders, and to inspire and motivate their teams. However - sometimes this enthusiasm, passion and energy can be crushed - particularly when the leader is operating under the 'old rules' of business - leading with the 'stick' and courting a culture of ego and unhealthy competition.
Employees CAN learn how to identify new opportunities, be highly innovative, become advocates for your brand, learn to articulate the value of the brand (even if not in the sales team) and draw on the collective intelligence within - regardless of their 'role'.
Even the youngest, most junior or least skilled member of your team could contribute to your future as an organisation. According to Manager of Customer Success for Sage One, Lawson Ursrey,
“Everyone should be invited and have the opportunity to share their voice. Yes, this can lead to a longer meeting and perhaps the focus might sway for a moment, but it’s important to hear all perspectives because you never know who might have the best idea until you ask,” (2014).
Developing an entrepreneurial culture is like farming.. The ground needs to be ploughed with a culture of trust.
Seeds (or ideas) need to not be parked or thrown away without regard - but be watered with respect, encouragement and guidance. Leaders must learn to be courageous and transparent - letting go of the idea that as a CEO they must be seen to 'know all things' - but have the maturity and self awareness to recognise they must draw from different types of thinking styles, new ideas and new ways of selling in order to take their organisation forward... respecting and leveraging the internal resources within each individual.
The new CEO must know how to focus on individuals, care about their personal needs, passions and desires. The new CEO recognises how to draw out the individual gifts of every employee - and helps them to learn how to be commercially creative, to think about making money differently, to own their own role and to feel part of a dynamic, disruptive, united force of individuals who are inspired and celebrated for their individual strengths.
Be a courageous leader - do things differently, be open to new ways of 'doing business'. Think of your employees as franchisees rather than dependent children. Go into consultant mode rather than 'boss' mode. Learn to understand the hearts and minds of those you lead. Watch what happens when people feel valued for their contribution. Watch what happens when people feel inspired to take more ownership of the company's outcomes - because they feel like they are a valued part of the mission, and that the company's results directly impact them on a personal level- in a positive way.
The alternative? Get left behind as the relevant, young creative go-getter organisations pave the way for the future of business.
Join Louise Taylor Neuro-Strategist, Author, Speaker, Sales Expert for more thought leadership on High Performance Culture, Entrepreneurship, and the "Biology of Flow".
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