Are you looking to inject more creativity, innovation, dynamism and pace into your business?
The first step to making this happen is by building a team of people who display these characteristics themselves – those with an entrepreneurial mindset. People who aren’t afraid to take risks or challenge convention…they write their own rules. These are the kind of people who possess the same entrepreneurial flair that enabled you to get your business off the ground in the first place. But how do you attract these people?
People who are bold, optimistic and entrepreneurial in mindset naturally don’t want to be restricted by predictable, and often unnecessary, processes. An environment where entrepreneurial people can really thrive means setting the precedent that delivering value is what is best for themselves as well as what’s best for the business. It’s about embracing their intrinsic motivation to succeed over creating the necessity to. This is the kind of environment that these people will be drawn to. This is the culture you need to create…and it starts from the top with you.
This is where the big firms have got it wrong
Big firms naturally have a big business mentality (and therefore culture) that is very difficult to shake. So how can they expect their people to bring any kind of creativity, innovation, dynamism or pace? They’ve built successful, global businesses based on models that once worked very well, and they’ve been doing it for a very long time.
An entrepreneurial firm, on the other hand, has a much more exciting and fast-paced rhythm. It’s like jazz – unpredictable in all the right ways. Not dissimilar to the business world we operate in today…
This is exactly why the CEOs of incumbent firms are now realising that they need to change their wheels. But they’re struggling with overcoming the departmental and organisational silos that their people have been historically moulded (and hired) to fit into.
So, I’d strongly encourage you not to follow in the footsteps of the large firms when it comes to creating and sustaining an attractive culture. The tyres they’re struggling to change are the very reason they can only ever attract ‘employees’ into their businesses.
Entrepreneurially-minded people however, want to make a difference. They want to build a business, not just work for one. That’s why you need to write your own rules to give your team the platform they need to flourish.
Looking at the process
When was the last time you examined your processes? Are they all necessary? Do they add value? Or do they stifle new ideas, slow things down or make it hard for new ideas to be rapidly tested?
For example, take an honest look at how you review your employees’ performance – is it an annual tick box exercise? Is it based on KPIs that focus their efforts on the minutiae, discouraging creativity and those big value ideas? Or, is it a regular, honest conversation that will get them to where they want to be faster…?
And then, how do you reward their performance? Could you give them a stake in your business? Would they grab the opportunity to sacrifice some of their salary in exchange for a share of the value they create in your business?
This is where optimism comes into play. Let’s face it, no pessimist has ever changed the world. Pessimists are by nature, risk-averse. Perhaps explains why I have never met a pessimistic entrepreneur…
Those with an optimistic (and entrepreneurial) mindset are the ones who will question the ‘way things are done around here’. They’re also the ones who will continuously challenge themselves and each other to make things better. And then a little bit better. And then, even better…That’s where creativity, innovation, dynamism and pace come from.
So, why shouldn’t you expect these traits from everyone you choose to hire into your team? And also from all the businesses you choose to partner with? For example, if you were the CEO of a large corporate trying to inject some creativity, would you look to a business with the same mentality and culture as yours to help you? Or, would you look for something brand new? Something in a category all on its own…?
So why, as the CEO of your own business, would you not write your own rules? Define your own category.
If you want to build a bold business, it starts with a bold team.
Stephen Newton is founder and managing partner of Elixirr