How do you create a company culture where employees are empowered to take risks? By creating and fostering an entrepreneurial mindset in every single person at your company. At the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival Alexis Smith, Director of Employer Branding and Digital for North America at Anheuser-Busch and Howard Greenstein of Harbrooke Group offered three techniques businesses can use to build an entrepreneurial mindset and company culture.
Offer Ownership Opportunities
If you want to create a company culture where employees feel empowered to take risks, companies first need to understand their employees – like they understand their customers.
“The employee is making the decision every day they show up to work if they buy into this culture, this business. Every day the employee is asking: Do I buy into being here and giving the best I have to offer, because I feel valued and like my contributions matter?” Alexis said.
To create a company culture employees are buying into, ownership of projects and new ideas is critical. Ownership first creates opportunities for employees to ideate, formulate, and test out potentially risky ideas that can improve the bottom line. Plus, ownership allows employees the chance to enjoy the potential rewards from a well-played risk. If you want employees to buy into your culture, create multiple options for employee autonomy.
Innovate or Die
As businesses become successful and grow larger, innovation can slow or be altogether stopped. The company’s larger size, scale, and routinized processes become excuses for why everything should stay the same. It’s along the lines of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But, without innovation, businesses become stale, stagnant, and lag behind.
“Innovation to companies is evolution to human life. You don’t evolve you die. You don’t innovate you die,” Alexis said.
Instead of letting bureaucracy, size, scale, processes slow you down as you grow, focus on maintaining the nimbleness of a startup. Use the wide array of employee knowledge, skills, and talents within your company to continually assess whether your current “business as usual” routine is actually helping your company, or slowing you down.
Culture = People
In order to create a thriving, entrepreneurial mindset within every individual at your company, you first must attract the right people to your company. Then, those same people need multiple opportunities to grow within their roles.
“Companies don’t exist without people,” Alexis said. “There is no company without the people.”
A company culture is created by everyone within the company. By creating opportunities for all employees to do work that highlights the key traits of an entrepreneur – passion, grit, and resilience, to name a few – a growth oriented mindset will be forged within the DNA of your company. And this personal, entrepreneurial mindset will then shape the entire culture of your company.
Watch highlights from Alexis’s talk at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival:
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