Just the other day I did an interview with a columnist working on a story about people starting up a business venture while still employed. My take as an employer is that those individuals have a moral obligation to perform to that best of their ability for their current employer, however, my view is that every business should look at their employees as entrepreneurs, embedded in their business.
And by this I mean that they should encourage, teach, and empower them to act entrepreneurial, even as they perform the functions of their given job title. My belief is that entrepreneurial thinking and action leads to making decisions that are about getting results for the customer and the business in ways that traditional job training often stifles. (It might help to review my article – 7 Uncommon Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs)
By fostering, and perhaps even requiring, your staff to think more entrepreneurial you can create a business where more of your staff think, and therefore take action, like owners. One downside to this way of thinking, some might conclude, is that you will actually teach people to grow up and do what they were meant to do with their lives – namely go start their own business. I, for one, can’t imagine a greater sign of a healthy business.
What if your business became known as the place where the best and brightest learned how to get more of what they wanted out of life? My belief is that you would attract superstars and they would attract even more superstars and, while some would go to other ventures, (making wonderful strategic partners) many would stay for the same reasons they were attracted in the first place.
I can envision an organization that made entrepreneur training a key element for all employees by:
- Inviting them into marketing strategy sessions
- Including them in discussions about key strategic indicators
- Teaching them what the P/L and balance sheet mean
- Giving them one day each month to present open ideas on ways to innovate
- Supporting them to engage in networks related to the industry
- Guiding them to use CRM software to engage their networks
- Helping them build personal brands in social media
All of the this entrepreneur training would take time and patience and surely somewhere along the line it would go unappreciated, but I firmly believe the long term payoff would be an organization full of the energy rarely observed in the typical cubicle.
Image credit: The Art of Charm