HUMAN RESOURCES

How Do You Create an Entrepreneurial Mind-set?

Creating a nimble culture begins with good communication about your core values and encouraging entrepreneurialism at every turn.
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Our goal at Avondale is to build a very entrepreneurial culture. We look for entrepreneurialism in every new hire, and we also want to train and reward existing employees for that mind-set.

Here's how The Entrepreneurial Mindset by Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian MacMillan defines the characteristics of an entrepreneurial mind-set:

  • Passionately seeks new opportunities;
  • Pursues opportunities with enormous discipline;
  • Pursues only the best opportunities; avoids exhausting themselves and their organizations by chasing after every option;
  • Focuses on execution--specifically, adaptive execution;
  • Engages the energies of everyone in their domain by creating and sustaining networks of relationships.

Our goal is to build this mind-set into everything we do. Doing so starts with communication. For example, we are currently writing an employee handbook, having grown to the size where it is useful for both current employees and new hires. The purpose of the handbook is to provide an overview of how we think about our firm in the context of serving clients and developing our people. Here's how we describe it:

This handbook is not intended to be a set of rules or policies, but rather, generally accepted guidelines that should help ensure our collective success. The only strict rules at Avondale are to:

  • Act with integrity and honesty at all times;
  • Add value greater than your cost; and
  • Be entrepreneurial.

If these rules are followed, we will all be successful. 

Please do not hesitate to ask questions. Your team will gladly help answer them. We depend on you--your success is our success. We want Avondale to be the place where you build a highly rewarding career.

We are in effect promoting entrepreneurialism to the same level as integrity, honesty, and adding value. We are building this culture into our hiring, performance review, and promotion decisions so that the concept is reinforced in everything we do.

What do you think of our guidelines? Are they sufficient, or would you add more? How would you change these rules? Please share your thoughts with us at karlandbill@avondalestrategicpartners.com.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Aug 30, 2012

KARL STARK AND BILL STEWART | Columnist | Co-founders, Avondale

Karl Stark and Bill Stewart are managing directors and co-founders of Avondale, a strategic advisory firm focused on growing companies. Avondale, based in Chicago, is a high-growth company itself and is a two-time Inc. 500 honoree.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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