You Can’t Make Your Employees Think Like Entrepreneurs
One of the most common responses I hear from business owners on social media is that they can’t get employees to take ownership of their own actions and responsibilities, let alone make decisions that are in the best interests of colleagues or the organization as a whole. So when I read the title of this Entrepreneur.com feature article titled, “Get Your Employees to Think Like Entrepreneurs” it made me think about this idea in a new way.
The truth is you can’t make your employees think like entrepreneurs.
You can inspire change, but you can’t force it. You can teach and enlighten, but you can’t make people think like entrepreneurs. People interpret the world uniquely, through their own filters of experience, education, up-bringing and internal natures. People are wired to think differently. And this is a good thing.
You can’t make your employees think like entrepreneurs, and you shouldn’t want to.
This citymax.com Building a Better Entrepreneur infographic lists the top reasons that people open their own businesses. Scroll down for the full infographic, the data I want to draw your attention to is here. When asked what motivated them to start their own companies, entrepreneurs said that this is how they think:
- 75% wanted to build wealth
- 68% wanted to capitalize on a business idea
- 66% wanted to join the ‘start up’ culture
- 64% wanted to own a company
- 60% didn’t want to work for someone else
The motivations most commonly cited by entrepreneurs in and of themselves offer a good reason that you don’t want everyone in your organization to think like entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs want to capitalize on their own ideas, build their own empires, and many don’t want to work for other people. These are not the characteristics of employees that are most likely to help you grow your organization; simply put, they have dreams and aspirations of their own. Competing personal agendas might transfer into the professional arena. Their personal aspirations and propensity for creating and dreaming might mean that the goals you set for your business get derailed or diluted.
People who think like entrepreneurs need some people around them who don’t think like entrepreneurs. Risk takers need people in their organizations who are cautious by nature. Big picture thinkers need the detail-oriented. Fast movers need people around them who aren’t afraid to pull on the reins to slow them down. Dreamers need doers.
You can’t make your employees think like entrepreneurs; and the truth is, you really shouldn’t want to. What you should want are people who believe in what you want to achieve but have the ability to envision different routes to the destination than you do. What you should want are people who are bought in but not afraid to ask questions and point out pitfalls. What you should want are people who have the ability to define and execute the thousands – millions – of small and large tasks that lie between where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.
You can’t make your employees think like entrepreneurs, and you shouldn’t want to, but you might be able to get them to act like entrepreneurs, anyway.
To design and cultivate an entrepreneurial culture is different than to make your employees think like entrepreneurs; but it’s better. Instead of thinking that employees need to think like entrepreneurs, you can steer everyone’s strengths to better engineer strategies that will help you pursue organizational growth and development.
An entrepreneurial culture is one with a bias for action and growth. Everyone in your organization doesn’t have to think like an entrepreneur, but everyone in the organization does need to buy in to the ultimate vision you have for growing the business.
By bringing people onto the team who don’t necessarily think like entrepreneurs, but who are bought in and ready to provide you with their best work and advice, you may even find that the route from where you are today to where you want your business to be tomorrow is shorter, not longer.