Think Like an Entrepreneurial Visionary to Inspire Employees
Everyday top team members are needlessly lost. Why? Not a single person at work gave them a convincing reason why they should be there. It didn’t matter how much money they were banking or how big their corner office was. What they wanted deep down was to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Many of these lost employees (and maybe a few of yours) went to work for an entrepreneur. A good entrepreneur knows how to communicate a vision that leaves all who hear in awe. He or she will convince a top executive to leave their job for something as simple as an idea on a napkin. People will risk their entire financial fortunes to be a part of the vision the entrepreneur has created. If you learn to take on an entrepreneurial mindset, you too will inspire your organization from the bottom up.
Give your employees a sense of ownership- This is an absolutely essential component to engaging and inspiring employees. Many entrepreneurs have nothing but an idea. They convince valuable people they want in their company that the idea will work and whoever works for them can have a piece of the success from the idea. Many people who have gone on too long without a pay raise or are underemployed can become very attracted to this. The most common example of ownership in a company is stock options. I love stock options because workers will put their heart and soul into something they truly own. If you can offer your employees equity options proactively promote the option anyway you can. When your workers own equity, they will have a true sense of ownership which will inspire a sense of loyalty you have never seen.
Reward all ideas, good and bad. This is a fantastic way to create a culture of innovation. Most ideas fail but remember quality comes from quantity. What is important is to encourage the process of ideation just as much as the value of any ideas. Schedule regular time to allow employees to participate in small group brainstorming sessions. Give them different problems to solve related to their work so that they can have a sense of ownership in the solutions. If a group comes up with an idea that may add value, delegate them the authority to ensure it gets implemented. Have them give you regular update on the progress. Google follows this by allowing employees to spend 20% of their work time on projects of their choosing. Since the 20% rule was established, it has produced 50% of Google’s products.
Remind employees how they are making the world a better place. People don’t just want a paycheck; they want to make a difference. Create and communicate a vision of what your product does for your customer. The more mundane your offerings appear to be the more important this is. For Instance, if you sell payroll services you might get a testimony from the business manager who can now go home on time every Friday and play with her kids because her payroll is now handled by your business. This is something that should be nested in your vision and mission statement. To really get the ball rolling check out this article I wrote on creating a dynamic vision statement.
As you begin to implement these practices, remember visionaries are made not born. Read this informative article by David Frick which goes into examples of entrepreneurial visionaries and the character traits they displayed. After everything is said and done the most important trait for an entrepreneurial visionary is persistence. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, only how many time you are willing to get up. How do you inspire people you work with?