Successful company innovators and entrepreneurs have many common elements that drive them to create value in today's economy. If you want innovation, you want to look at the thinking patterns of your employees and encourage them to think more like entrepreneurs.
One giant in this realm is Adobe. Leaders there encourage employees to present their innovations to more than 14,000 people at their yearly conference, Adobe Summit. When I saw the "Sneaks" portion of the conference where employees share their innovations to the Adobe products and the audience votes for their favorite one.
I could see how Adobe has embraced the entrepreneurial spirit across engineers, product developers and others to showcase innovation to their customers. Steve Hammond, executive of product strategy and marketing with Adobe, said "The best ideas can come from anywhere." These employees embody entrepreneurial mindset to compete at "Sneaks."
Leaders are looking for ways to spark massive action among their teams and at the individual level too. They want their employees to go beyond just "checking the box" of the work. They want innovation and value creation that is usually only seen from founders of startups.
To be crystal clear, encouraging the entrepreneurial mindset is not about helping them start a business. Very few people want the risk to be completely on their own. Encouraging the thinking patterns of entrepreneurs within your organization will boost morale and productivity.
Jeff Hilimire, CEO of Dragon Army, a company that develops mobile strategy and applications, shared with me his take on the entrepreneurial mindset across all levels of the organization. "Most employees of a company wait to be told what to do and often struggle when roadblocks are presented. If they have an entrepreneurial mindset, they'll look to tackle those problems head-on and solve the problems creatively."
This strategy has worked for Dragon Army as the company has become a dominant player in mobile innovation.
"One of the things I see our clients struggle with when it comes to emerging technology is the ability to move faster, iterate more effectively, and generally 'do more.'" Hilimire stated. Essentially, his leadership encourages people to act more like startup entrepreneurs to innovate and create valuable solutions.
After years of first-hand experience with rapidly growing companies, I share my message of hypergrowth to companies and conferences. It essential comes back to leadership that encourages entrepreneurial mindset at all levels of the company.
Here are a few tips to help leaders embrace these factors of the entrepreneurial mindset to drive real innovation and growth.
1. Let go of blame.
Employees that are quick to blame someone or something else will be slow to grow. On the other had, employees who don't lead with excuses will consistently offer more value to the organization. The "no excuses" people are willing to accept that they don't know everything, and they take ownership of finding solutions.
2. Create value.
Companies are here to create value to customers, to the company and for their stockholders. Entrepreneurial-minded people know that it not just about doing the work. They know they have to raise value to a higher level with each project and customer interaction.
3. Take ownership.
Employees who move beyond responsibility into ownership will find a way even when it is hard -- and there will always be obstacles that stand in the way. Leadership that inspires ownership is the prime discipline in companies that are growing fast.
4. Sell yourself.
Successful entrepreneurs know the fundamental need to sell their ideas and eventually their offers. Even inside the company, each person must know how to sell. We are always selling even when we are not in business development. We must sell ideas to our team and leadership. Those who have skill in selling will grow in influence and value to the organization.
5. Be resilient.
The journey of entrepreneurship is one of ups and downs. Employees who push the boundaries of innovation will feel this as they create what has never been created before. The entrepreneur mindset allows a resilient employee to get knocked down and get back up over and over.
6. Get accountable.
Entrepreneurs, as a rule, are incredibly accountable. At the end of the day, if they don't deliver, then their company fails. From an employee perspective, this can be immensely powerful.
You may be unsure that this is right for your culture and might not work for your industry. I will be direct and say this is not the entrepreneurial mindset talking to you. It is the "I am in charge, so I make the decisions that solve the problems." I want you to look at this from a different angle. How many people are solving the toughest problems you face right now? If it is limited to a select few, based on my research with hypergrowth companies over the last few years, you will struggle to stay relevant at the current pace of change