It’s no surprise that entrepreneurialism is considered a driving force of progress. Creatives and entrepreneurs can spot opportunities and turn original ideas into innovative new solutions. This translates into sustainable business growth, increased revenue, and sometimes even flat-out survival where others fail for businesses and companies who hire entrepreneurial thinkers. Regardless of whether these thinkers are business owners, are self-employed, or work for someone else, these types of thinkers bring sustainability and innovation to the table.
If the entrepreneur-based mindset is so vital to innovation, and the agility and hunger of startups is so valuable to corporate entities, why is entrepreneurship not nurtured and encouraged in corporate culture? Below are a few steps corporate entities can take to not only attract innovative thinkers but to also encourage entrepreneurial mentality from within.
Hire the Right Types of Talent
Bring on team members who are born entrepreneurs. These folks are open with their questions, often criticizing current methodologies and practices. Creative thinkers can find opportunity innovative new solutions where others cannot, and candidates with an energetic, strong drive to action can spark up creativity and motivation in others.
…And Manage Them Well
Entrepreneurial workers need to be involved in stimulating and meaningful projects. These thinkers (and doers!) want to challenge both the status quo and themselves in their careers. They often avoid routine and mindless work, and must be intrinsically motivated for optimal success.
To nurture and motivate these types of individuals, managers must allow for new ideas and approaches to the end goal. Leave some projects open-ended or as ongoing to encourage new ideas, and allow these types to choose new projects to work on or ideas to pursue. Avoid too many boundaries wherever possible, and allow employees to make decisions.
Make Employees Feel Like Partners
To harbor entrepreneurial mentality in the workplace, make your employees feel more like business partners and less like worker bees. Ask for regular feedback, and actually listen to the answers with the intent to implement solutions to the negatives. Involve employees in decisions that affect them, and give every individual chances to share their voice. Keep employees in the know about the direction of your company. Bounce new ideas off of them. Encourage questions and fully answer questions as you would a business partner. Treat your team more like partners and less like cattle and you will be rewarded with new ideas and an innovative team dynamic.
Value Different Standpoints
One of the most defining traits of an entrepreneurial mind is the ability to find solutions and paths where others cannot. It’s critical to realize that there are many roads to success, and while the end results are the same, there is always more than one correct answer out there. Value and respect differences in methodology and give your team freedom to complete their duties as they see fit. Create a culture where new ideas are welcomed and encouraged rather than shut down. Enabling your team to do their jobs to the best of their abilities in their own manner opens the floodgates of creativity and innovation.
Allow Employees to Own Projects…and Actually Implement Their Suggestions
Entrepreneurial thinkers need to feel engaged and motivated to fully reach their potential. To create an “intrapreneur” culture, give your team responsibilities that speak directly to their individual strengths and give them full ownership of the project. Set loose expectations to keep your team focused and on track, but allow employees to choose their projects.
Equally important, make sure to actually implement the suggestions and ideas from your team. Seeing their ideas and recommendations in action builds confidence in creative thinking and encourages team members to continue to generate new ideas for projects.
Keep Your People Healthy
All companies should value the health and wellbeing of team members, and countless studies have shown that overall physical health has a huge impact on employee output and ongoing wellness. Additional studies have shown that good exercise habits, healthy diets, and mental well-being all have significant effects on the brain’s cognitive creativity centers. Encourage your team to stay healthy by allowing sick days (actual sick days, not vacation days), offering good health insurance, and incentivizing an active lifestyle.
Mental burnout is another dangerous risk for entrepreneurial creatives. Help your team avoid burnout by offering mental wellness workshops and meditation practices, and give your team regular opportunities to unwind and unplug. Respect your teams work life balance and allow your team to disengage from email/communication after working hours.
By encouraging networking and personal career growth, you enable your team to continue to make new connections and spark up innovative new ideas. Rather than worrying about the risk of your employees leaving for greener pastures as a result of networking, realize that allowing your team members to grow their networks is the key to your company’s growth as well. Entrepreneurial thinkers tend to recognize and appreciate different ways of thinking, and regular interaction with like-minded professionals is often a catalyst for entrepreneurial/intrapreneurial innovation.
Value Ongoing Education and Industry Learning
Creative and hungry entrepreneurs know the importance of ongoing learning, especially in the fast-moving industry that is technology. Placing value on ongoing learning is critical to harboring a successful entrepreneurial culture. There are many ways to encourage ongoing learning that can lead to innovation. Host regular in-house learning workshops during which team members can learn new skills or lead training sessions. Give your team members incentive or reimbursement for higher education tuition that will benefit their professional output. Allow your team to attend informative and inspiring tech conferences (such as Launch Wisconsin 2016!) to learn new skills and network with other entrepreneurial thinkers.
Related Content: Best Upcoming Startup and Tech Conferences for Entrepreneurs
Employers can take these steps to encourage and nurture the highly-coveted, highly-valuable entrepreneurial mindsets on their current and future teams. Do you have other methods or tips on creating an entrepreneurial culture? What motivated and empowers you as an intrapreneur/entrepreneur? We’d love to hear your thoughts on our social channels!
Join the thousands of attendees already registered for the Launch Wisconsin Startup and Tech conference on October 12th, 2016.