The Strategist

Building An Entrepreneurial Culture In Your Company

03/31/2016 - 11:44

Long gone are the days when authoritarian management was considered to be the most effective one. Today wise managers realize the key role of people working in their company: their education, skills, expertise, as well as their ability to work together and generate optimum solutions. So, the best thing one should do if he/she intends to lead the company to success is to create the environment which would motivate people for doing autonomously their best. The concept is known as intrapreneurship, or entrepreneurial culture.

To get an idea of intrapreneurship and on how to introduce entrepreneurial culture in a company one should address to the research of Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric. Mr. Welch defined 25 rules for top-managers to build an effective company. Some of them are quite common and are connected with setting goals and focusing on innovations. While the others provide insights on how to inspire people and build entrepreneurial environment. 

We chose 8 most relevant statements and found confirmation by surveys and researches of consultancy firms and reputable businessmen.  

Manage less. At first sight that sounds unwise. But if we take into account another principle – lead more – it makes sense. Embody the company’s values and be a role model for the employees. This principle is also cited by David Lidell, President and founder of SKYE Business Solutions. Mr. Lidell suggests that managers should apply their leadership skills and charisma to the required extent and exactly when it’s needed. He also presumes that it is important to work out a balanced attitude to faults and recognize their inevitability.  

Articulate your vision. Manager’s mission is to communicate goals of the company effectively and clearly. Sharlyn Lauby, ITM Group, Inc. and HR expert, agrees with this statement and fairly notes that it is important to give a say to those who are supposed to be affected by these goals, including stake-holders and group leaders. In the same time, it is crucial not only to put it in a logical way, but to create an attractive picture of future achievements, in other words, to get people emotionally involved in pursuing company’s ambitions.

Involve everyone. There is no use to expect outstanding results or innovative ideas from who are treated formally or like ordinary subordinates in their companies. Whereas those who respect the employees, take in consideration their opinions when making important decisions and clearly convey the idea of teamwork, are always rewarded with excellent results. Thus, managing consulting firm Peter Barron Stark Companies interviewed 100,000 employees in companies throughout USA and found direct correlation between the extent of employees’ engagement and their performance.

Make everybody a team player. Treat your employees as vital parts of the whole organism, make them see you appreciate everyone’s contribution and create team spirit. This idea runs through the expert articles of Barbara J. Bowes, president of Legacy Bowes Group. Based on rich experience, she claims that attitude to employees make greater part of their success than their education or any other factors. In the same time, Mrs. Bowes prevents managers from keeping secretive, selfish and competitive staff members. Such people are unlikely to change, that’s why it’s better to replace them with those open for cooperation.

Get less formal. What Mr. Welch means by this slogan is that informal atmosphere (within reasonable bounds, of course) makes employees feel less tensed and therefore encourages working with greater enthusiasm. Speaking about methods, he recommends organizing brainstorms and accepting all ideas coming both from leaders and first-line managers. Taking out ‘bossy element’ from a company, managers, however, should somehow balance the autonomy with control.

Energize others. It’s wonderful if you are able to maintain continuous enthusiasm for work. But a true leader is the one who resonates with people and make them share the same values and energy for going forward. Duff & Phelps acquired a name to conjure with in the area of corporate finance advisory, by setting rules of organizational performance and high standards of professionalism. Yann Magnan and Robert A. Bartell, both managing directors at Duff & Phelps, explain: “our people are trained to the highest level. We want to be the elite of advisory firms, especially in corporate finance. Our job is demanding because our clients expect us to be 'best in class' players.”

Get good ideas everywhere. If a manager is an open-minded forward looking person and makes it a rule to get ideas from everywhere, then he/she should, first of all, pay attention to their most valuable resource – people. Encourage them to share their thoughts and make sure the working environment doesn’t raise any difficulties in terms of format of meetings or interrelationship of employees. With this in prospect, Duff & Phelps mobilize ad hoc task forces whenever necessary: “Our compensation system applauds and encourages this working relationship (…) Pulling from our many subject matter experts, we are able to work with different scenarios: do we need our IP expert involved, our real estate expert, our ‘going private’ expert? The matter in which we are involved will be upfront from the beginning”, the Managing Directors of Duff & Phelps say.

And make business fun! It is one of the most curious suggestions which only means that it’s hardly impossible to do a job which you don’t enjoy. Thus, Jack Welch considers that success is impossible without friendly atmosphere and sense of humor.
In conclusion, we can’t but emphasize the idea that it’s team who contributes to success of a company. Investing in people’s development, encouraging their progress and providing them with opportunities for self-expression are of great importance. Creating appropriate environment for talented employees can do miracles.
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