What are the core differences between the mindsets of entrepreneurs and employees? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
I worked at a company years ago that was incredibly well-run. The CEO was arguably the best in the industry. The company grew revenue and earnings at a 40% year over year clip for years on end after going public.
Investors rewarded the company's results with an ever-increasing valuation. The company, Maxim Integrated Products, was one of the ten most successful companies on the NASDAQ during the 1990s.
A key, if not the key, to the company's success was the incredible amount of talent in the company.
Everywhere you looked, there was A player after A player. Yes, the company did have some B players and C players, but these were few and far between.
As I look back, one of the many feats the company pulled off was that the majority of the employees had an entrepreneurial mindset.
How did Maxim do it? I think there were several reasons:
A. Hire great people.
It always comes back to people, doesn't it? Hire great people and just about every management problem you have will go away.
You can hire people with an entrepreneurial bent well after your company starts. And these people will be fanatical about your company.
That was one of Phil Knight's secrets in building Nike. Try it.
B. Run your company like a startup for years after it was a startup.
Delegate the decision making down in your company. That was, and is, one of Netflix's secrets.
Then resist the urge to add layers and layers of rules to your company. You'll find that your decisions get made fast, and you and other senior managers will be freed up to take on more strategic tasks.
I saw both these strategies work extremely well at Maxim. My guess is they'll work well for you too.
C. Give your employees healthy financial incentives that align their interests with shareholder interests.
You can, and should, give your employees generous option grants if you are a startup that hasn't gone public yet. Combining the right financial incentives with a great work environment, and a great set of teammates gives you a killer combination that allows entrepreneurism to thrive.
How do I know this? I saw this exact formula play out at Maxim. You had a bunch of smart people who cared passionately about the company, and they had huge financial incentives to get the job done.
The reality is there doesn't need to be any difference between the founder mindset and the employee mindset. It's really up to you to build your company with an entrepreneurial mindset across the company.
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