Why should you invest in creating an entrepreneurial culture for your organisation? Quite simply, you will create a team of people who push the boundaries, look for hidden opportunities and understand profitable growth.
Once you’ve developed a workplace that breeds innovative thinking, you won’t accept talent into your business that doesn’t have that spirit about them. New staff will immediately see a culture where challenging and pushing the boundaries is encouraged and rewarded.
Every workplace is unique however there are some core values you can introduce into your business to begin developing a culture of entrepreneurship.
Make creativity a cornerstone of your business
Make sure everyone knows that creativity is highly valued. When an employee presents a unique solution to a problem, acknowledge the achievement and celebrate with the entire team.
It is also important to incorporate creativity into everyday practices of the business. Creative incentives such as an annual allowance for staff to engage in creative or cultural pursuits, or fun team outings, can break the routine and provide inspiration to your employees.
Encourage and support risk taking
Taking measured risks is part of every day for an entrepreneur. So if you truly want to create a team of entrepreneurs, you have to support risk taking. Failure is also part of entrepreneurship, so when it inevitably does happen, have an open conversation about how it came about, what the lessons were, and how to avoid it again in the future. Scar tissue of failure makes you stronger in that place in the future, so never look at it as a negative.
Provide training opportunities
Training can take many forms, which is why it’s important to think about the outcomes you want to achieve when deciding what training will best develop creativity relevant to your organisation. Entrepreneurs thrive on learning, growing, opening their mind to new ideas and concepts. Generic training may not be enough to foster new ways of thinking, whereas industry-specific training may be more beneficial.
The method you choose to deliver training will also impact the results. For example, online training provides greater flexibility, whereas time away from the office may be seen as inconvenient. Alternatively, employees may feel more inspired by off-site training such as attending industry events and rubbing shoulders with their peers. Otherwise consider the possibility of designing your own training in-house – this will help you set organisation-specific goals to focus on achieving.
Finally, it’s important for senior team members in the business to act as mentors to more junior employees. It is up to you whether you provide mentoring to the entire team or whether you select a few high-achieving individuals. Mentoring will allow you to help people reach their potential and to align the process to your business goals.
An example of a mentoring approach could involve monthly communication sessions where staff catch up with their managers to talk specifically about their personal growth and goals. There needs to be structure, commitment and energy from both sides for this approach to be successful.
Training geared at inspiring innovation
The ability to think creatively often improves with practice, so give your staff opportunities to flex their creative muscle in new ways that are distinct from everyday tasks. Regular business plan competitions to find business solutions are a great way to encourage structured creativity.
For example, Pulse Marketing introduced an eight-week creative thinking course called Pulse Ideas School. The course involved a weekly session where the Creative Director discussed how to develop great ideas for real advertising challenges. At the end of each session, the group was given a creative brief to solve and present back the following week. The true test was that this was company-wide, so the Finance Manager was tackling a creative brief, which would not happen otherwise. Immediately they had a greater appreciation for our offering, and for the work that the team produces every day.
Treating the team as business owners
When employees are treated as an integral part of the business, they are more likely to take on more responsibility and proactively engage in creative thinking.
Make sure your team understands the broader business goals and involve them in the business discussions that matter. For example, all staff should be informed of new business wins and be given relevant information about the new clients as well as about the vision for the business.
Just as a business owner should know every development in their business, every employee should be aware of what’s going on. Part of that information flow should include keeping staff in the loop with any changes that may affect them and consulting them when possible.
For example, if you are planning an office relocation for the business, discuss possible office locations with staff to make them feel more involved in the decision. This will promote a culture of openness and trust, and will make sure that staff happy with their new weekday home.
Recruitment based on talent and passion, not skills
You’ll increase your chances of cultivating innovation and entrepreneurship in your organisation by hiring people who have an entrepreneurial spirit.
Be very mindful of the culture you aspire to create during your recruitment process. When it comes to choosing between the right skills and the right mentality, skills shouldn’t necessarily come first.
Skills can be learned; a way of thinking is more difficult to change. Understand what qualities matter to your organisation culture most, and hire based on passion and personal attributes first, followed by skill.
There is a multitude of ways you can begin to create an entrepreneurial culture in your business. While you may have to work hard to implement change, always remember that the outcomes will be worth your efforts. People and processes will churn as you work through the implementation, which can feel like a setback, however it’s the long-term gain that holds the greatest value.
A collaborative team of people who can think creatively and develop solutions, will automatically give your organisation a competitive edge and make it a company people want to be part of.
Lauren Brown is the Managing Director of Pulse Marketing, a full-service Marketing and Advertising agency, committed to delivering great ideas and powerful results in the areas of marketing, creative, digital, and social www.pulsemarketing.com.au.
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