Anyone who has worked in a business that embraces the entrepreneurial spirit knows how exhilarating it is. You can feel a buzz in the air. The action on the shop floor and in the hallways is so intense that coming out of your office is like merging into rush hour traffic. Decisions are made on the fly without the need for formal meetings or approvals. The esprit de corps is palpable. The whole team pitches in to do what it takes to succeed.
When entrepreneurial spirit permeates every corner of an organization, the entrepreneur lurking in each of us awakens. Think about what characterizes a successful entrepreneur. She has tremendous belief in her abilities and in her vision for the business. Now, imagine that every person in your organization shares this same belief. How powerful! Just imagine the possibilities! Lets look at the five key entrepreneurial beliefs.
- Belief in the Leader: When everyone in your organization believes in you as a leader, a high level of trust develops. Belief in the leader means the people in your organization trust that you and the other leaders have integrity, competence and vision. It means they believe you have the business acumen and talent to succeed, and they believe you are trustworthy. Do people believe in your leadership?
- Belief in the Purpose: Most people want to be a part of something big. And they want to believe in the purpose of their organization. Leading companies have a strong purpose. For example, the stated purpose of Whole Foods Market is to allow common folks to buy the same high quality foods as rich people can. Microsoft’s stated purpose is to enable people to have information at their fingertips. The Body Shop promotes social responsibility. Corporations with a clear purpose make it easier for employees to gain clarity on their personal mission. Employees know the business is trying to achieve something important and meaningful. They want more than a job. They want to be part of changing the world, even if it’s just their own little corner of it. To discover your company’s purpose, ask yourself why your organization is important. If your company went out of business tomorrow or was reorganized out of existence, why would your customers care?
- Belief in the Operating Model: An operating model is the integration and interaction of your business constructs: the policies, procedures, processes and structures of your business in dynamic interchange. It’s how your business works. And your stakeholders need to believe in it. Whether you know it or not, stakeholders are constantly passing judgment on your operating model. When employees believe in your operating model, they understand it. They understand the rationale behind the processes, policies, and procedures you have implemented. Equipped to make decisions, they frame every decision in the purpose of the company and in an understanding of business financials. Your job as a leader is to share the operating model with all your employees so that they can demonstrate their knowledge and align their daily activities with the purpose of the business.
- Belief in Empowerment: The real benefit of working in a high-octane entrepreneurial environment is that people can act on their own with the full support and backing of the organization. All employees should act like stewards or owners of the business. When employees believe in empowerment, they believe in the organization and in themselves. They know the organization supports their actions. Most importantly, they know they are allowed to fail. Mistakes are tolerated because your employees learn from their mistakes and avoid repeating them. People believe in empowerment when they have the authority to act, the ability to act and support when they do act.
- Belief in the Reward: When employees believe in the reward, they believe that when the business succeeds, they will succeed. They are willing to give their best efforts on behalf of the business because they know their personal success is tied to the success of the business. Help your people stay focused on the big picture. In turn, they will try to improve the business so that their reward increases. Employees will think and act like entrepreneurs—like owners of the business. They’ll protect the bottom line as if it’s their own because it is their own!
Leaders must constantly strive to promote the “Five Beliefs” and build a winning culture. If you do, you’ll begin to see competitive energy resonating around the clock. Everyone in the organization will focus on winning and satisfying new customers. A sense of purpose will begin to dominate the work environment, and the entrepreneurial spirit will come alive. Do you work in a high-octane entrepreneurial environment?