RSS Value of Entrepreneurial Spirit

From time to time, throughout my professional career, certain life concepts have been reinforced; concepts such as thinking for myself, seeking out the right resources in order to make the best possible decision, and prioritizing my findings so they can be articulated effectively.

I’ll never forget attending a particular management meeting early in my banking career. I was so eager to share the latest technology being offered by one of our competitors that I neglected to research the potential impact of this technology to our organization.

Good-naturedly, my colleagues pointed out my gaffe. I was a bit embarrassed at the time; however, I have come to value that meeting because the situation provided me with a tangible coaching moment. I’ll always consider the lessons learned in those few minutes as an important step in my professional development.

I share this story because I think it serves as a good example of how one might effectively promote entrepreneurial behavior among your employees. Hopefully you, like me, get an opportunity to work with truly talented and motivated individuals. On a daily basis, I’m inspired by their eagerness to learn, grow and become significant in their own unique ways. Entrepreneurism, the act of managing the risks of a business venture, should not be a role solely occupied by the leader of an organization or the owner of a company. Rather, acting in an entrepreneurial manner is a skill that should be taught and reinforced among all employees. Teaching an employee how to be more effective in their resourcefulness is a means to that end.

Think about all of the places you now refer to when you require information. Much of it comes from your co-workers who have learned a thing or two the hard way; of course, there are other formal resources such as white paper reports, classroom instruction, topical seminars, instructional websites, trade publications and even your competition. (A favorite Google search of mine is to type in “motivational quotes,” which I often do when I need to find a gem to inspire or motivate my team. It also is a nice resource on a personal level as well, when I need a pick-me-up. )

Anyway, my point is not that we identify specific places for our employees to refer to in order for them to be more effective or productive; instead, it’s simply to create an environment that encourages them to become entrepreneurial. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I don’t believe our job as leaders is to tell our employees what to do, or even how to do it. It is much more effective to allow our talent to think for themselves, to expect them to learn and grow, so that they too can own company results.

It isn’t enough simply to expect our talent to be resourceful, we must offer the type of mentoring necessary to build that skill. We must explain our corporate goals and every employees role in getting there, both while fostering an environment built on entrepreneurial thinking and resourceful action.

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2 Responses to “Value of Entrepreneurial Spirit”

  1. David Keen says:

    Mitch,
    Thank you for taking time out of your days to post blogs to your sites. Im a huge fan as I find interest in nearly all of your topics.

    I recently read this “Value of Entrepeneurial Spirit” posting and found it interesting because I struggle with some of these very items. Im still very young at age 27 but have always been an entrepeneur. What makes me a little different than most I feel is that my drive to accomplish goals is always in high gear. At age 7 I decided I wanted to be an engineer and worked for that goal from that point moving forward. Working through school very early at a grocery store and on farms I always strived for a title a little higher on the totel pole than the position I held at that time. I started at Rays Food Place in Creswell as a Courtesy Clerk “Bag Boy” and in 3 years made my way into store management. This was the way I moved through every job I’ve ever worked at. I tried eagerly to get into U of O and OSU to start my professional career as an engineer but was denied as there is a waiting list for programs like that. I began my tradition of working my way into the position and title as Lead Engineer here at Carothers and Son.

    Through my journeys I have been told many many times that I need to have patience and things that I want will come to me as long as I work for them. I hate the word patience and do not fully understand its meaning, so I have come up with my own definition: Patience is the role of working at someone elses pace. Because of this as well as my OCD to constantly come up with new ideas I decided I wanted to start my own business as working 50-60 hrs a week for 8 yrs was not only not paying off but was also great preparation of what life would be like owning your own business.

    I failed at multiple business opportunities as my dedication and work output was always more eager than my business partners. I refused to actually launch the business if my partners would not step up to the plate and hit the ball. Again, patience cannot explaine how I felt. I was not going to wait for them to come around. Finally I decided I would try one last time to write a business plan that would almost be bulletproof. I started a small snack foods business. There is hardly any overhead, my business partners had been making the product for a number of years, the profit was exceptionally high. The only problem again is that it took off so fast in 6 months that I feel myself dragging my team along to keep up. Again, I feel like my ambition to reach goals is far higher than my colleagues and im finding it difficult to wait and let them catch up. In this case I could easily build the business up vary fast and not be able to do it on my own and essentially work myself out of business.

    As you mention in this article every CEO needs some inspiration every once in a while. As an employee we are under someone elses wing and the urge to keep working and moving comes from the motivation of the people above us. Not only with consequences but with incentives. The hard thing about being a CEO is that you are the only one who is going to drag yourself out of bed and keep pushing your business forward.If you fail to do that nobody is going to call you and tell you that you are late for work. The risk you take by not staying diligent is running behind and failing your customers. To fully fill the shoes of a good CEO takes a person of integrity. Something that you seem to have and take pride in.

    I found the following video interesting and inspirational. I wish I could use this type of video for advertisement. It talks about what motivates us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc.

    My question to you is how do you motivate your business partners? If the incentive to be a leader or owner is already there, the ability to make money is there and the product you sell is lucrative. How do you help them to have want to succeed in the same manner. Keep in mind that we do not have any employees working for us so the business responsibility solely falls on us.

    Sorry if this post was too long. I appreciate reading your posts and would respect any feedback you could give.

    Thanks again.
    Respectfully,
    David Keen

  2. Mitch says:

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful response! By your reply I can tell that you have had several similar work experiences as I have. I think the best response I can give to you regarding motivating others is this, you really can’t. I have found that all motivation is self-motivation. As a leader, the best you can hope for from business partners and teammates is that their responsibilities and accountabilities are aligned around their unique skill sets and interests. When we are at our most productive at work, we are generally doing things we enjoy, and if we enjoy them, chances are we do them very well. It is what keeps our work interesting. It’s possible that the “work” your business partners felt responsibility for, or their daily routines, were not well aligned with their interests. The fact that you had more passion for the work than your partners may simply be a sign that you liked the entrepreneurial challenge more than they did.

    It is very hard to find business partners who equally share passion for the business or have equal skill sets to bring to the business. It is the major reason that partnerships fail. These are the same reasons that relationships of any kind fail.

    I hope this response is beneficial to you. I have other thoughts but, in the interest of space, I’ll try to address them in future articles. I wish you much success in your future business endeavors and sincerely thank you for reading my blog!

    Mitch

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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